Travel dates: 28th – 30th October
We weren’t very good tourists in Singapore. We didn’t see many of the sights at all. A telling sign of this is that we only took 33 photos there, usually we have hundreds from each location. A lot of people that have visited Singapore before us have said there isn’t a lot to do so we only scheduled a two night / one full day stopover. This didn’t give us a lot of time as it was. I think this was part of the reason why we decided not to do much, it seemed like a lot of effort to try and cram a lot in.
The one star sight we did see though was my friend David Robinson from high school. I am sure he would prefer to be known as Robbo from Singapore however Dave from Withnell would also work. Whatever we call him, he was kind enough to put us up for two nights and was even at the airport waiting for us when we arrived.
To save the trip across town twice, we headed straight to dinner in the centre of Singapore. This was Mexican food at a place called Las Iguanas. The food here was very good, as was the beer and jugs of frozen margaritas. Singapore is nowhere near as cheap as places we have been before. Although some things in Hong Kong were a bit pricey (beer for example), food was still fairly good value. In Singapore everything was at least as expensive (if not more) than back in London. In any case we had a good meal while we caught up on travels, life in Asia and life in London.
After dinner and a taxi back to Dave’s we surprised our friend Graham back in the UK with a Skype call. He didn’t seem too shocked to see Vicki and I in Singapore though.
Dave has a great apartment a little way out of the city. It takes about 25 minutes on the train however since Singapore is so small that puts he place very close to one edge of the country. It only takes a bit over an hour to cross the longest part of the island.
The next day we weren’t up particularly early. It was 9:30am before we were heading out to explore the city. We worked out the metro ticketing and were on our way to the centre. This was where we managed to break one of Singapore’s many rules that could incur a penalty fine. Singapore is covered with signs telling you what you can’t do, giving the hefty fine associated. We had brought an orange juice with us which we drank on the train. This is a big no no. We did at least notice the sign and stop before tucking into our muffins. Fortunately our crime escaped unnoticed and unpunished and we made it to Chinatown.
Singapore is the first place we have been where it has been really hot. Although Hong Kong was a lot warmer than China, the move to Singapore was a lot more dramatic. Here it was over 30 degree and very humid. We were definitely feeling the heat as we wandered around. This didn’t stop us though as we explored Chinatown, the financial district and headed to Raffles hotel. Raffles has the classic colonial feel to it and was where the Singapore Sling cocktail was invented. At £13 a pop and still being early in the day we decided to pass.
Our lunch stop today was a bit different. It was at a Hooters bar. We wanted simple western food and a river front seat to enjoy it in. Of the options the best one turned out to involve waitresses in skimpy shorts and tight t-shirts. Vicki didn’t object to going in so neither did I. The place was crowded with many tourists having decided it was a worthwhile option. We won’t be making a habit of going but the outside seating made it a great place to sit and watch traffic on the river. It even cooled down for us as a storm was rolling through but mostly passed us by.
Following the lunch stop we went to explore a park and fort. It was heating up again so we decided to call it a day before we expired. We headed back to Dave’s to cool off in his pool. I did attempt a run but thanks to an incoming tropical storm and the heat I didn’t get very far. Vicki was more sensible and just stayed at the pool. As we swam the storm could be seen in the distance with thunder and lightning preceding a huge downpour. We managed to get back inside before getting too drenched. It wasn’t really an issue anyway as we had just come out of a swimming pool so were already wet.
Dinner was in Holland Village, a trendy area of Singapore and home to one of Dave’s ex-colleagues, Nicky. Nicky was born in Manchester but having spent considerable time in New Zealand she has a very mixed accent. We joined Dave and Nicky for a curry before heading back to Nicky’s apartment for a few drinks and to watch a Peter Kay DVD. Again not the expected activity for when in Singapore but it was good to just spend time with locals and have a relaxed and normal evening.
The next morning we had enough time for breakfast with Dave before dropping him at work and heading to the airport. We had some trouble finding the place we were going to, much circling in a taxi eventually resulting in finding a furniture shop where our restaurant was expected to be. Waffles from the alternative destination went down very well.
So while in Singapore we missed out on must see sights like the zoo, Sentosa island, the flyer (big wheel) and many more. We did enjoy spending time with Dave though and regrouping ourselves ready for a more intensive tourism onslaught on Cambodia and Thailand. As Singapore is a common transit city we hope to be back one day soon. We will make more effort then to see the sights. Our impressions of the place were good. Things work really well which compared to some Asian cities is a real plus. The people were friendly. Although it was a bit hot and expensive it was an inoffensive city that we would go back to explore more in the future.