Singapore 25th to 28th March 2008

Singapore Travel Blog

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The cable car from the Harbourfront to Sentosa Island

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.

Us on the Skyride after the luge
Singapore has a shortage of hotel space and prices are sky high as a result. We stayed at the Fragrance Hotel Selegie which although a very reasonable USD70 was clean and included breakfast and has a swimming pool on the roof. There were some complaints on the website about the size of the rooms and yes they are small; but what do you expect for such a cheap place. Compared to our hotel in Hong Kong it's a palace!!! The only problem was that we couldn't check in until 3pm which seems a bit odd. We arrived at two so had to kill an hour before we could get into our room!!!

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.

The Big Tooth Temple in Chinatown
  While waiting to check into the hotel we had lunch in one literally two doors down from the hotel called Ananda Bhavan and not only was the food superb but it was cheap too. We realised later that it is one of a chain and we ate at them several times over the four days we were here. The food was alway superb and we'd totally recommend the plain rice set meal on a banana leaf. Awesome.

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.

Chinatown's nightmarket
S$50 for two drinks and although we managed to cane the free peanuts it can't be called good value. The hotel is undoubtably beautiful and the Long Bar is quite interesting and other worldy but there for us there is something slightly unnerving and shameful about the ostentatious wealth that comes with such a place. Maybe it's the secret communist in us but you can't help feeling a bit hypocritical and being slightly ashamed sitting there with the hoards of rich westerners off the cruise ships.

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!!).

Raffle's Hotel
We also visited the worlds largest fountain and got really lucky with our timing as ten minutes after we arrived it was turned off so that we could walk up to its central core and put our hand in the water, make a wish and do three laps around it and wealth and all good things will come our way!!! Can't turn that down now can we?

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.

Our Singapore Slings at Raffle's Long Bar
That was pretty much it for us but the island has lots of other rides and sights for those with money to burn or kids to entertain!!!!

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!!!

 

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The cable car from the Harbourfron…
The cable car from the Harbourfro…
Us on the Skyride after the luge
Us on the Skyride after the luge
The Big Tooth Temple in Chinatown
The Big Tooth Temple in Chinatown
Chinatowns nightmarket
Chinatown's nightmarket
Raffles Hotel
Raffle's Hotel
Our Singapore Slings at Raffles L…
Our Singapore Slings at Raffle's …
The Esplanades (or Durians) on t…
The Esplanades (or "Durians") on …
Steph along the River
Steph along the River
Adam drinking in the Merlion
Adam "drinking in" the Merlion
Us in front of the Durians
Us in front of the Durians
The Fountain of Wealth (the world…
The Fountain of Wealth (the world…
View from the cable car of Sentosa…
View from the cable car of Sentos…
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