A Travellerspoint blog

Singapore

Trying to catch up on the whole blogging thing!

sunny 30 °C

Ok, ok, I know I've been rubbish at this recently. Well, for quite a while in fact.
So now I have a week off work (Chinese Labour Day holiday), & I'm not going off travelling anywhere this time, I fully intend to catch up with this properly...

Singapore.

Chinese New Year last year was cold, wet & miserable - very similar to Autumn in the UK. I had planned to just chill out in Shenzhen & explore the city a bit, but I decided I wanted to go somewhere warmer & drier. After looking through the available flights for the cheapest & most convenient on the Tuesday of the holidays, I booked a flight to Singapore for the following day. I say day; the flight left at around 11:50pm on the Wednesday night & arrived in Singapore at 4am Thursday! So the first thing I did upon arriving at the Five Stones Hostel, after figuring out how to get in, which my room was & which my bed was, was to sleep for a few hours.

Once I was fully alive & awake again, around 11am, I went for a wander around: Boat Quay, the Fullerton Hotel, Merlion Quay, the Esplanade, the Chinese New Year display & stalls, Helix Bridge & the Marina Bay Sands Shopping Centre. Where I discovered that ‘Wicked’ (one of my favourite musicals) was on at the theatre there. Upon which I promptly bought tickets to see it that evening. The second time I’d seen it, & it was just as fantastic as the first. I also managed to get a photo with David Harris, who played Fiyero, after the show. DSC_2724.jpg
I had a lovely stroll around the other side of Marina Bay back to the hostel; I felt very safe walking around & one of my first thoughts about Singapore (apart from how much more expensive it is than the rest of Asia) was how clean & tidy it is.

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Having gone to Singapore to escape from the miserable weather, of course the second day I was there it rained. A lot. So for the first half of the day I just chilled out at the hostel, enjoyed the free breakfast & chatted to people who were also staying there. One of the people I met, Emma, & I decided to go for a wander around Chinatown once the rain had eased off, where we had some traditional Singaporean noodles (which were really good, and cheap). It was interesting looking at the similarities & differences between Chinatown in Singapore & China itself. After a visit back to the hostel, we then went for a (rather expensive) drink at a pub on Clarke Quay called The Penny Black, which proudly sported many English memorabilia.

Saturday I had a bit of a lie in (I was on holiday after all!), then after breakfast Emma & I walked up to the famous Raffles Hotel where we sampled the equally famous Singapore Sling along with some dim sum for lunch. DSC_2756.jpg
After wandering to Marina Bay, we went our separate ways for a while & I caught the MTR to Orchard Road, known for being a prime shopping area. And when I say prime, I mean really expensive! Needless to say, I didn’t buy anything except a cup of tea. Having said that, on the walk back I found a lovely little Italian restaurant where I had dinner; you could design your own pasta dish: pick the type of pasta, pick the sauce & pick the meat, seafood or vegetables you wanted in it. Yummy! Once I got back to the hostel, I bumped into Emma again & met Adam & Robert, & as it was Saturday night (& we were all on holiday) we decided to go out for a few drinks... We went to a cool bar, saw one of the women who work at the hostel & had a drink with her, then got some bottles & sat on the quayside chatting until about 5.30am.

Having only got to bed (finally) around 7am, I slept until about 3pm on Sunday! Sunday I had the day to myself, so I spent it wandering around Chinatown again, trying hokkien prawn noodles & sugar cane juice at a cheap & cheerful food market, looking at the Al-Abrar Mosque, Thian Hook Keng Temple, the Indian Heritage Centre, Far East Square & Fuk Tak Chi Museum & Temple (built in 1824). Back at the hostel, there were a few people in the living room area & we all watched ‘Catch Me If You Can’ before going to bed at a reasonable hour.

At breakfast on Monday, I had a chat with another girl staying at the hostel, Luisa. We decided to go out for lunch on Clarke Quay & found a proper British fish & chip shop. I was so excited! They were really good fish & chips, served in fake newspaper too. I had a look around the Culture Museum in the afternoon when Luisa went back to the hostel, which was very interesting. In the evening I met up with Cindy, Jamie & Jeff, all residents of Singapore, who’d I’d met previously on my wanderings. We had dinner at a local hotspot, then met up with Luisa, Robert & Moritz to go for a drink. Cindy & Jeff took us to the New Asia bar which is on the 70th floor of the Swissotel – we had one expensive cocktail each & looked at the amazing view of Singapore spread out below us & all lit up. It was wonderful.

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On my last day in Singapore, I managed to miss the bus to Sentosa, so decided to have a bit of a lazy day instead. I went to the Muslim & Arabic Quarter & wandered around the streets for a while, when I discovered a Swedish cafe! I decided to have lunch there (Swedish meatballs & mash) as a change from all the noodles I’d been eating. Of course, when I left the cafe, the heavens opened & I had to buy an umbrella in order to not get completely drenched! This then meant it was difficult to get a taxi, so by the time I got back to the hostel I didn’t have much time before I had to leave to catch my flight. Luckily, someone else was getting a shuttle to the airport & the very kind staff at the hostel phoned them & came out to the shuttle to get me on it so I wouldn’t miss my flight! I made it to the airport in time & flew back to Shenzhen, & spent the rest of the Chinese New Year holiday doing very little (apart from boring things like washing & lesson planning!).

As a summary, I enjoyed going to Singapore, but I’m not fussed about going there again. There are many other places I’d rather go first. It was clean, easy to get around & a fair amount to see & do in 6 days, but it was also quite expensive. I’m glad I’ve been there & it was (mostly) better weather than Shenzhen at the time. Singapore is a lovely city & the people are so friendly. The other great thing about it was that because I went by myself, I could go at my own pace, see the things I wanted to see, do the things I wanted to do & I met lots of great people.

Next update to follow soon!

Posted by Persephoned 03:14 Archived in Singapore

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