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A Budget Room on Luxury

So... for everything there's a price. For the sake of safety, for the sake of convenience, for the sake of time saving, I had to pay more.

View SEA Trip by Any Means on automidori's travel map.

Singapore, August 23-24th 2011

Before I continue my stories about my adventures, let me flashback a little bit. This was actually my second visit to Singapore. However, the first one was more than 10 years ago, and it was just for a stop over. Therefore, almost the entire Singapore became something new for me. After buying Singapore Dollars at Changi International Airport, I headed to the tourist information booth to require direction to Killiney Road where the hostel I've booked is. An Indian lady reluctantly looked at the piece of paper in which the address of my hostel was written. Then she gave me a small map of MRT's Route.

"From here you go here, and then here, and then here," said she while making circles on the map. Before I really understood, she turned her back. She seemed too busy to provide information for a tourist at a tourist information.

I examined the map myself. The map was about the size of a postcard. The letters were so tiny. I barely could read it. Poor me. Here and there I walked to find the bus terminal that would go to the MRT Station. Nothing looked like a bus terminal. In my mind was something like the bus terminal at LCCT, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). I didn't want to bother the Indian lady the tourist information booth again.

I went to the airport information desk. According to my understanding of English, the difference between tourist information and airport information is that the first gives information about tourism and the later gives information about the airport. If approaching a tourist information booth wasn't really welcomed, approaching an airport information desk for information outside the airport might be a bigger mistake. But what other chance do I have?

Beyond my expectation, the lady at the airport information desk was very kind. She patiently explained to me. Ah... maybe the sign "Tourist Information" and "Airport Information" was misplaced.

As instructed, I intended to go to the second floor. But... oh! The escalator looks steep. Can I get myself and my suitcase up? When I was 10 years old, I fell off an escalator while carrying a bag of mangoes. I wanted to help Mom who had 2 bags of mangoes and her own handbag to carry. Instead Mom had to hold my back while holding herself on the moving escalator. Luckily someone came to turn off the escalator. Mom got many scars on her arm and legs. Since then I had been traumatic with escalators when carrying heavy things.

So, fearing the escalator, I gave in to taking a taxi. When we arrived on Killiney Road, my taxi driver slowed down. We are supposed to look for 110B Killiney Road Tai Wah Building. Okay, it's number 90 now. 92... 94 ... 100... 102... I don't remember the last, but the number suddenly skipped to 117 something. No number 110. My driver stopped at a cross road.

"Do you mean I have to get off here?" I asked.

"Yes. Number 110 must be over there." He pointed to the back. "You can walk."

I read the meter that said $19 something. I gave him $20. I waited to get the change. On the contrary, he kept still as if waiting for something also. After a few seconds of silence went by, he turned to me, and said, "Twenty six dollars."

"Twenty six?? That's nineteen." I pointed to the meter.


"No?? That's nineteen."

The driver pulled out a piece of paper. He pointed at the numbers, $19 plus tax plus bla, bla, bla... becomes $25.65.

Wow! With the same amount of money in rupiah, in Jakarta by taxi, that would mean a very very long distance. Even from my house which is by the outskirts of Jakarta, to the airport, won't cost that much. Well... I've decided to come to Singapore, anyway.

I paid, got off, and started to walk back. Number 110, let alone the "B", was still missing. Besides, nothing looked like something that could be called a "building". Still unsure, I walked back up the street. It seems that my hostel would be such a tiny place. If number 110 itself is so small that it's sandwiched in between, how should I imagine the "B" part would be? Let's imagine the sandwich. Number 110A, 110B, 100C, 110D, are the fried egg, ham, tomato slice, and salad. So 110B is nearly invisible. I tried to look harder. But, once again I arrived at the crossroad without finding the number 110.

Now I was beginning to think that Asia Rooms had fooled me. The hostel, Budget Room Singapore, apparently doesn't exist. Oh...no, please! Where should I go now??

Desperately, I looked around for any signs of a hotel, hostel, guesthouse, whatsoever. Suddenly... Doesn't that say "Tai Wah Bulding?" Wow! And on the other side were big numbers in dark black: 110B!! I felt like one discovering an oasis in the middle of a desert.

Now, how do I cross the street? Must I cross at the traffic light? But the traffic light is still over there and I'm sweating already. Suddenly again... I saw a man crossing with pretty much ease. Oh, so it's okay? Alright. I crossed.

Near the stairs was another sign: "Budget Room" and an arrow pointing up. I concluded that Budget Room must be upstairs. So up the stairs I went. Uphhh... my suitcase... uphhh...

The glass door was locked.

Sigh. I looked right. I looked left. Ah, there's another sign. "Lift". So I went to the left.

The lift was rather old and small. There was no sign inside the lift telling on what floor Budget Room was. There was another man together with me inside the lift. He got out on the 3rd floor. I followed.

But what I saw looked like a home, not like a public accommodation. Ah, this must be wrong. So I went to the 2nd floor. I stepped out the elevator only to meet closed doors in front of me.

Back I was in front of he locked glass doors. It was the first time I realized that carrying heavy load way down needs more energy than way up. When I went up, I pushed my suitcase with my knee by every step up. But, when I went down, my hand had to handle the whole weight. Uuuggghhh. Just now at Changi Airport I had been avoiding climbing up the elevator and now here I am going up and down stairs. Uuuggghhh.

There was an Indian guy sitting by the entrance of Tai Wah Building's parking basement. I went to him and showed the little piece of paper with Budget Room Singpore's address. "Excuse me. Do you know where this is?"

"On the third floor," he answered.

"Third floor? I had been there already."

"Yes, it's on the third floor," he said again.

"Okay," I said, but to myself. "You have to carry your suitcase back up the stairs."

But just after a few steps, suddenly I heard, "Hey! There's the lift!"

I was about to say, "You think I don't know where the lift is??" when I saw his finger pointing down. I looked at the direction he pointed.

OH! There's also a lift on the basement. Actually I needn't have to waste my energy up and down the stairs just now. If had gone through the basement, I could just have drag my suitcase down the slope which was the path for cars parking on the basement. This Indian guy must have seen me sweating on the stairs up and down just now. Ohhh...

I got out the lift at the third floor. I looked to the left. It was a balcony with some table and chairs. So I turned right. I met a wall with a vending machine. I turned right again. Straight... and, there was a table by the wall with a sign on top "Office".

"Excuse me?" I called.

A lady came out of the room. She was the owner. A Filipino.

To make a long story short, this Budget Room Singapore is more like a guesthouse, I think. My room (with a single bed) was tiny. No bathroom. It looked almost like my first boarding house room (kamar kost) when I first came to Bandung. The whole place, however, was pretty clean. The shared bathroom (there were several) was clean. For me, when a bathroom is clean, everything looks clean. The kitchen was also clean.

What's ridiculous to me is just the rate. I paid 120 SGD for 2 nights. From Singapore later on my journey, I would go to 4 other countries and stay in much bigger rooms, but none of them was even equal to the rate I had to pay here. Even the 4 star hotel I had stayed in, was still cheaper than Budget Room Singapore regardless of the name "budget".

Here's my room. It's blurry, I know. I took this picture after I came back from the Night Safari, after a such long day, exhausted. Maybe it was my cellphone camera which isn't so good under low light condition. Maybe it was my exhausted shaky hands. I think it was both.

So why did I settled on Budget Room Hotel anyway? Yes, I know there are a lot more cheaper hostels in Singapore. Well, my reason was for the location. The Hop-on Hop-off bus which I took to get around Singapore and to Sentosa Island, had one of its stop in front of Concorde Hotel on Orchard Road, near Killiney Road. So it was just a walking distance from my hostel. Moreover, the free transportation from iVenture (another story to tell) for Night Safari, picked up and dropped of guests at Concorde Hotel also. Knowing that I would returned late at night after the Night Safari, for the sake of safety, I choose not to spend too much time on the street to get back to the hotel. Plus, it was quite convenient to get to the MRT Station, especially for the early morning MRT to Woodlands which would lead me to the next train trip to Thailand (another story again). I didn't have to change train.

So... for everything there's a price. For the sake of safety, for the sake of convenience, for the sake of time saving, I had to pay more.

Posted by automidori 03:52 Archived in Singapore Tagged singapore orchard_road budget_room killiney_road asia_rooms changi_international_airport

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