Being Danish, I am used to mild winters and cool summers, and the highest prices of pretty much anything in the world. I was struggling with the heat in Singapore, and consistently pleasantly surprised by the prices of things, which were at worst the same as home. One perk of living in Scandinavia I guess. During the 5 days we stayed there, these were my impressions of the city:
Hotel room small but good. Bed somewhat hard for my liking. Shower head settings didn’t consider people taller than the country average. At least it was easy to keep hair dry if needed.
My travel partner was very eager to explore the famous food courts of the city, so that was one of the first things we did. He is also a big fan of Asian food – I must disappoint and confess that I am not. That meant that upon entering a food court we would both be circling the place 17 times, him not knowing what to get because it was all tempting, me not knowing what to get because it was all meat and veggies in water or indeterminable fried food. I settled on the simplest dish I could find, with the longest queue to the stall: rice and chicken, which turned out delicious. Much more excited about selection of freshly made juices available – became big fan of fresh pineapple and watermelon juice.
Sentosa beach. Somewhat strenuous trip out there from our hotel – 25 minutes by bus, then walk for 20 minutes along the boardwalk, and then another bus, this one fairly hard to find just to make it extra fun. Found a lovely little beach, water about 25 degrees, and lots of cafes/bars with drinks on offer. Apparently off season – very few people and lots of stuff being built/torn down. Would have liked to spend more time there.
Botanical garden. Very lovely (and free) area. Struggling with the heat, which is about 34 degrees with very high humidity this particular day. Found cool house for plants from mountainous areas, which was much more comfortable.
Singapore Zoo Night Safari Experience. This, I can inform, is on Lonely Planets top 500 list of awesome stuff to see (or whatever), and I was very happy to have gone there. Super cool experience where you jump on an open sort of bus with about 15 other tourists, and then drive around the zoo while a guide tells you what you are seeing. Word of advice: don’t try to document anything with your smartphone camera. It will look like this:
In other words, rather unsuccessful picture taking. After the bus tour you are let loose on your own, and are welcome to spend the rest of the evening walking around the zoo. We caught a couple of animal feedings – lions and a tiger – and spent a good couple of hours there. Wonderful atmosphere not spoiled by the tons of people. Lower temperatures also make it desirable for Northerners wondering when they’ll ever stop sweating.
Chinatown was as nice as I expected. Going up from the metro station the first thing you see is a street decorated with those traditional Chinese lamps, and lined with small souvenir shops. Pleasant surprise that one could browse in peace in those shops, in opposition to my expectation of being stormed by eager shop keepers. Ended up buying two ‘traditional’ Chinese posters (the ones that roll up like a scroll) that I knew full well I wouldn’t be using when I got home.
My travel partner had heard of a food court that served pancakes with crushed peanut filling. Turned out to be excellent breakfast! Not so lucky with second visited food court – my lunch of choice was continously being made but not sold in the 45 minutes we were there – my partner tried out beef tendon soup, which disappointingly turned out to be, well, beef tendon soup. Clumps of fat in a thin broth. Lesson learned: always always go for the stalls with queues.
We decided to spend the last evening going on a roof top bar crawl. Started in Gardens by the Bay – beautiful, wonderful place. Lots and lots of people on the ground, very few people in the restaurant/bar at the top of the tallest tree. Lovely view over the city and to our next stop: the Marina Bay Center, where the top of the building (where the bar is) looks like a surf board.
Probably the best view from up there, and a somewhat posh atmosphere (super expensive hotel and shopping center down below). Last stop was a micro brewery a little way away from the town center. Nice view and very cool vibe – impossible to get home from. We wanted to take a cab, but of the few we saw none would stop for us, no one at the nearby hotels would call one for us, and we had no more cash for the buses. Last option: the very last train to go, which was around midnight. Lesson: don’t try to hail a cab in Singapore, plan with something else.
Have you been to Singapore? What was your experience? Comment below.