Last known location: London, England

Our favourite city so far…

We left Melaka on the 1st March and made our way to our last stop in Asia; Singapore.  We caught the town bus from Melaka to the large bus station a few kilometres out of town and arrived just in time to jump on the 11am coach to Singapore.  The bus was really comfortable – first prize for buses in South East Asia definitely goes to Malaysia!  We spent the 4 hour journey chatting with some Canadian girls and planning what we wanted to do in Singapore.  The customs and immigration process leaving Malaysia and entering Singapore was very smooth and easy and both were housed in fabulous modern buildings.  A sign of things to come…

We got dropped off at Lavender Street in Singapore city and headed towards the MRT station 10 minutes down the road.  We nearly got distracted by the Crawford Street sign which we thought may be directing us home, but looking up at all the skyscrapers we realised we couldn’t be in Marylebone, it had to be Singapore!  Our hostel was in the Clarke Quay area of town, a riverside spot bustling with bars, shops and restaurants.  Happy days!  Our first evening in Singapore was spent there, and after a few weeks of rice and noodles we fancied something a bit different – Dan had fish and chips and I had pasta, which made a nice change!

The next morning we decided to take the easy way out and jumped on the open-top bus tour; it was just at the end of the road and hard to resist!  Also, Singapore was so hot we didn’t think we’d be able to walk around all day long in such soaring temperatures!  The bus took us through Chinatown, a lively and large neighbourhood within the city; the Chinese were some of the first settlers in town.  Next up was the business district – full of modern skyscrapers and new developments.  We jumped off at Little India which has a lot of Tamil history and seems very different to the rest of Singapore.  It’s less ordered with fewer tall buildings but has a great atmosphere as well as a colourful market and some amazing restaurants.  We stopped for a tosai (dosa) lunch, before exploring some of the backstreets and passing a couple of Hindu temples.

We got back on the bus and finished the tour – ending near Raffles and the Colonial area of Singapore which was founded in the early 19th Century when Stamford Raffles landed at Singapore port to create a trading centre.  There are some lovely buildings; particularly the Old Parliament House, the Supreme Court and City Hall.  There was also a rather grand cricket club which operated out of the old Padang opposite the town hall which Dan was fancied a bat in.

That evening we took on the Singapore tradition and visited the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel.  It was lovely; peanut shells on the floor and  pigeons flying about inside!  Dan had the Singapore Sling but as I’d been before and didn’t love that I opted for a nice cold glass of white.  After our classy drink we went to the Raffles City mall next door and had a cheap dinner from the food hall.  Singaporeans apparently love a cheap meal and all the malls have food courts serving all manner of cheap food – this place had at least 20 stalls serving different types of food. Quite a change in atmosphere but fun all the same! The mall was full of familiar names; Marks & Spencer, Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins.

The next few days were spent visiting the Singapore hotspots; including Orchard Road for shopping galore – we managed to replace some of our tattier clothes. This was followed by Chinatown, where we visited the impressive Heritage Museum, which explained the hard lives of the first Chinese immigrants to Singapore.  For most of the days we were in Singapore there seemed to be a heavy downpour at around 4pm.  We tended to take cover in a shopping mall or cafe but occasionally got caught out.  When it rains in Singapore, it really rains!

That evening we had a bit of a night out around Clarke Quay, and neighbouring Boat Quay. Both areas were once bustling ports, but after falling into disrepair have been done up and turned into a huge selection of restaurants and bars covering cuisine from most of the globe, including some less common places like a Scottish restaurant and a Brazilian barbeque! Our night started at the Penny Black English pub, which was pretty authentic and full of Brits but ludicrously expensive! After a tasty curry we made the most of the last of happy hour, which seems to run at most bars and restaurants and at least took the edge off the high prices!

The next night we headed out to visit the Night Safari, which was basically a zoo but full of nocturnal animals. There was a live show to start with, followed by a tram ride through the various enclosures which had Lions, Tigers, Elephants and Zebras, along with all kinds of creatures of the night – the bats made me particularly nervous! Although it was quite touristy, and very busy, it was well done and a bit different to the usual.

The next day was our last in Asia – our flight wasn’t until 2am the next morning, so we had plenty of time to fill before that. We explored the marina, which is dominated by the huge Marina Bay Sands hotel – three towers with what appears to be a shipwrecked boat on top! There are also modern concert halls and shopping centres alongside older colonial buildings. We took advantage of the air conditioned shopping centres and had a game of bowling, a trip to the cinema, and a Thai meal before a final few glasses of wine back on Clarke Quay to calm Dan’s pre-flight nerves!

Singapore was definitely one of our favourite destinations so far, everything was so modern and ran like clockwork; the people were friendly and there was so much to do. The only downside was the hefty pricetag attached to everything, but I guess you get what you pay for! Next it was a mammoth plane trip and a whole new continent…

1 Comment:
  1. Rose 13 Mar, 2011

    Obviously Singapore was a big hit with you both! Expect Dan is enjoying the steaks in South America Did you manage to see any of the rugby yesterday? Wales won. England play today.


    Mum x x x

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