Singapore didn’t blow me away, but I had a good time anyway. I mean, with tropical weather year-round, good times with good friends, and a skyline like this, how could I NOT enjoy myself??
Nevertheless, Singapore is not the type of place that rates high on many people’s “Must Visit” list. It certainly wasn’t a priority for me to go there; while fellow travellers went on and on about the exoticism and excitement of places like Thailand and Cambodia and Laos, those same people had nearly nothing to say about Singapore. “It’s very clean and expensive,” they would repeat over and over. “And it’s very safe and great for families,” they would continue. Still, hardcore travellers who had eaten dog in Vietnam, trekked in Nepal, and survived China only curled their lip when I asked them if they had ever been to Singapore. “Yes,” they would sneer, “I have been, but it’s not the real Asia. Go see the other stuff first”. Then, cocking their head to the side, they would offer, “Go there if you must, but don’t stay long. You can do Singapore over a weekend”.
Armed with this information, I diligently followed their advice and saw all the other stuff first. I trekked in Nepal. I ate chicken in Vietnam (sorry, couldn’t do the dog. I just couldn’t). I (barely) survived China. And then I thought about going to Singapore. Finding a plane fare online that had a price too good to refuse, me, Liebling, and six other friends bought tickets.
We arrived in Singapore late on a Friday evening of what was to be a long weekend. We had a day off on Monday, thanks to Buddha and his birthday. Our group, tired from the 3.5 hour flight from Hong Kong (and a busy work week) split off into two cabs at the Singapore airport and took the 30-minute ride to our hotel, the Carlton, where we promptly went to sleep.
The next morning we rounded up the troops and headed out to breakfast at a restaurant called Food for Thought.
|Aren’t we just adorable?
The boys took silly pictures outside the restaurant (somebody must have put something funky in their eggs), and the girls followed suit with some crazy pics of our own. Then we moved on, doing our own self-directed walking tour of Singapore. We stopped to take pictures in front of the National Art Museum ( I didn’t go in as I don’t like museums, remember?) and along Orchard Street, which is the major shopping street in the city.
We hit the row of malls and did a bit of “window”-shopping, which of course resulted in me buying a dress and Liebling picking up a pair of sandals. I loved the shopping atmosphere in Singapore: the malls were large, stylishly decorated, and air-conditioned. Even better, I was reunited with a lot of my favourite stores from back home that unfortunately don’t exist in Hong Kong.
Singapore is a very developed country and is super clean. Apparently, this cleanliness is due in part to the fact that there are no wads of sticky, melted gum on the sidewalk. Did you know that chewing gum is banned in Singapore? They don’t sell it anywhere, and, though rarely enforced, it is against the law to chew it while in the city. My shoe soles very much appreciated this phenomenon.
The main streets were thick with pedestrians and the din of what amounted to a typical Saturday afternoon on Singaporean streets. Walking a bit further away from the main throughfare, we found a peaceful court of brightly coloured houses with ornate facades. Of course, as always, I had to snap a photo.
Continuing further, Liebling and I ditched our companions, who were determined to go shopping again (I should mention that the malls in Singaporean are generally cheaper than the ones in Hong Kong, hence the shopping urgency!), and instead went off in hot pursuit of Singapore’s Little India. With no map to speak of, we erred in the streets, passing this lovely wide avenue and even lovelier park (where I begged Liebling to strike a model-esque pose for the shot below). Isn’t Singapore just amazingly green and gorgeous? The tree-lined streets reminded me of Canada.
Throats parched, we passed this 7-Eleven, but it was closed. I was a bit bummed, until I saw this sign:
All you need is a little love from your local 7-Eleven to make you feel okay about having to stay thirsty…
Moving on, we found Little India’s Hindu temple, which is a sight to behold. Take a look at those colours!
Unable to resist, we crept inside, acutely aware that we were the only tourists checking the place out at that particular moment. The temple was busy with activity as there seemed to be some sort of service taking place. Liebling and I observed and I discreetly snapped a couple of pictures.
After our temple adventure, we took to walking along the boardwalk. Singapore has a beautiful harbourfront, which is bordered by Clark’s Quay, a very nice area with many restaurants and night clubs.
Looking at these pictures once more, I really can’t believe how clean Singapore is. Singaporeans can take real pride in how well kept and attractive their city is. After travelling the bustling, and often polluted, major metropolises (metropoli?) in Asia, I truly felt as if Singapore was in a league of its own.
I couldn’t resist taking a photo in front of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, which is reportedly the most expensive hotel in Singapore, and has a world-class casino. Apart from it being extremely exclusive and “chi-chi”, the architectural design of the structure is really impressive! And of course, I am very vain and love having my photo taken in front of monuments. HA!
Hot and tired after our adventure, Liebling and I went back to the hotel to meet up with our friends, and prepare for an evening out in Singapore, which I’ll detail in my next post!
What do you think of Singapore so far? Does it look like someplace you’d like to go, even if it’s not an “exciting” destination? What qualities do you look for when deciding on a place to travel to?
Psst! Don’t forget to “like” me on Facebook if you haven’t already! Your support is much appreciated!