Singapore 25th to 28th March 2008
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Let's begin by stating as fact that Singapore is a fantastic place. Much like Malaysia it's populated with some of the friendliest and most helpful people on the planet. From the moment we touched down in a tropical downpour and were greeted at the bottom of the steps of the plane by courtesy umbrellas' to the beaming welcoming smile and friendly chat with the woman at passport control, Singapore has been a gem of a visit. Even the people manning the taxi and bus ticket counters at the airport were friendly and when we went to go the wrong way to their rival, a free shuttle service to the trains, they called us back and pointed us in the right direction. How different from Thailand!!!
We booked a hotel over the internet which is always a bit of a gamble but saved us the hassle of trudging around with our bags and as it turned out was a really good deal.
The hotel is near the Little India area which is a dream for us as it seems that every corner has a vegetarian restaurant on it and the only problem is that we won't be here long enough to eat at them all.
Our trip here was an unexpected diversion and we'd sent our Singapore and Malaysia guidebook home from Thailand so we didn't really have much pre planned as to what to do here. We grabbed a load of info from the airport but the sights seemed to take care of themselves really. Obviously the Raffles Hotel and the obligatory Singapore Sling had to be done and it was a cool thing to do, but talk about expensive.
We took a stroll along the river front and Esplanade which has two theatres which are known locally as the Durian buildings (they do look remarkably like Durian fruit which if you've never had it is the smelliest fruit ever with a taste which has to be acquired to be enjoyed!!).
Another attraction is the island of Sentosa. Sentosa is a short distance off the mainland and has been given over to the pursuit of pleasure. We took a cable car from the harbourfront across the harbour to the island passing over a huge moored cruise hip in the process. The island is very much a themepark and if that's your cup of tea then I'm sure you'd love it. Cheesy as it is we decided to have a go on a luge that runs down to the islands beaches which we freely admit to thoroughly enjoying!! The chairlift back up was also very good and gave us good views of the rest of the island.
On a more cultured note among the highlights was a trip to the Red Dot Design Museum which showcases award winning designs in a cool minimalist setting. There were some great gadgets and very cool innovative ideas as well as some utterly ridiculous ideas that haven't got a hope in hell of catching on. The museum is near the cleanest Chinatown in the world, in fact it was so clean you really can't call it Chinatown at all but we found a great veggie place called Ci Yan which we'd recommend if you're in the area.
For us the only problem with Singapore is leaving it to head for India. I suspect that two more contrasting destinations are unlikely to be linked by a flight anywhere in the world!!!