Day 1-3: London

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Getting around London is convenient whether by bus or train, though fares may be prohibitively expensive, depending on where you are reading this post from. But if you have travelled all the way here already, I’m pretty sure you can afford the prices here for 3 days.

First, paying by cashless modes save you way much more than paying cash for each trip. If you’re reading this from Singapore, your POSB GO! Debit Card or DBS Visa Debit Card and its variations (PAssion card, SAFRA etc.) is accepted – just tap in and out like you would in Singapore. They will bill you at the end of the day, daily. Fares are also capped daily, depending on your travel zones and time of travel.

If you are travelling using contactless cards, don’t bother about the Travelcards – the daily cap and Travelcard cost is almost the same. In fact, letting the system work out the daily cap for you is easier than thinking about the zones yourself, so just tap and go.

I purchased a 16-25 Railcard before arrival, so there’s a discount and lower cap for rail travel in London after linking it to my Oyster card. It also provides a 33% discount for rail tickets throughout the United Kingdom.

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Inside the 1992 stock of the Central Line.

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The first “attraction” I visited was the Kensington Palace as it was opposite the Belarus embassy where I had to go get my Belarus transit visa for my Paris to Moscow journey. Those who are planning a similar journey, do take note that there is no Belarus embassy in Singapore or Malaysia. The nearest from these 2 countries is in Jakarta, but they do not accept walk-in applications as well, so unless you are willing to take a minimum 1 week trip to Jakarta without your passport throughout your stay, paying for an express service of 3 days in London might be better.

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Strolling through the Kensington Gardens.

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The entrance to Hyde Park.

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Policemen patrolling the area around Buckingham Palace on their horses.

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I was quite lucky to view the Changing of the Guard ceremony the moment I arrived at the palace as I went about my sightseeing without noting the time, nor did I have internet at that point of time. I actually took a random bus outside the Kensington Palace not knowing where I would alight, to just experience the bus ride, but it stopped here, and I was already planning to visit the palace, so I accidentally killed two birds with one stone on that ride.

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The Buckingham Palace facade.

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Exiting the palace area through the Green Park.

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Next, passing by the Tower of London…

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… to access the Tower Bridge.

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The Tower Bridge is often mistaken as “London Bridge” as it is the most iconic bridge across the River Thames.

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It is also what you would picture when you first think of London.

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The actual London Bridge, however, is unfortunately this concrete thing over here, the next bridge to the west of the Tower Bridge.

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I don’t think it’s going to fall down anytime soon.

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Next, Borough Market for some street food and coffee.

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Greenwich can be accessed by the Docklands Light Rail. The only purpose of visit would probably be to see the clock which leads the world’s times.

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At the time of my visit, Greenwich is positioned at GMT+1 instead of actual GMT due to daylight saving, also known as British Summer Time (BST).

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The view of Greenwich from atop Greenwich Park.

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Finally, visiting the area around the London Eye and the Big Ben.

A friend and I almost went for a ride on the London Eye since National Rail 2FOR1 discounts were available, but decided that the queue was too long. Part of the queue is split in the middle, so there’s the front part that actually leads to the wheel and another part behind the counters as a holding area first. Don’t be fooled by the perceived short queue at first!

A short but well-spent 3 days in London ends here. I would make a trip back 2 days later to pick up my Belarus visa, but I will post about the sightseeing on that day later on. The posts for the From London to Singapore in 40 Days series will be in chronological order.

Next city: Sheffield.

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