Singapore

Trish Griffiths on 30 July 2010
We have been to Singapore a few times now as it is one of our favourite cities. Every time we visit we seem to find something different to do.

It is also an ideal stopover choice on the way to Australia, or as a twin centre with other Asian destinations. We normally stay at the Fairmont which is right opposite the famous RAFFLES Hotel, where it is practically obligatory to visit the Long Bar and sample the Singapore Sling, and fling your nuts around the room! Another advantage is that the bus that takes you across to Sentosa Island stops just outside. Sentosa is well worth visiting to see the beach and Universal Studios, amongst many other attractions!!

Also connected to the Fairmont is the Raffles City Mall – head to the basement for a wide choice of reasonably priced food options. One of my husband’s favourites is the ‘Toast Box’ – where you can have a ‘local breakfast’ consisting of Toast with Pork Floss and semi boiled eggs (yuk! – I hate the look of it….) – although the local coffee known as KOPI is delicious!!

Outside of the shopping centres Singapore in general is a multi cultural food paradise…..You will find Indian, Chinese, Malay, Eurasian, French, Indonesian and many other types of food in food courts or hawker centres. A must try dish is Chilli Crab, especially down on either Clarke Quay or Boat Quay. In both of these areas there are many restaurants serving excellent food and you can take a boat trip around the area. We think Boat Quay is the more original area whereas Clarke Quay is a specially developed entertainment area – Boat Quay seems more popular with the locals rather than tourists, especially the after-work crowd!

A must is a visit to Singapore’s busiest and famous shopping area, Orchard Road, which is heaven for style aficionado’s and luxury brand fanatics!! Alternatively go to Chinatown and Little India for cheap, quality goods while enjoying the cultural shopping experience, it’s also one of the best place to buy electronic goods. All the shopping centres are clean, very modern and air conditioned. This A/C is vital, especially as its virtually always hot and humid (and can rain at anytime) and when it is sunny it is very hot! The sun is very strong here as it is so close to the Equator, so wear plenty of protection.

If you can move from the shopping centres or restaurants the public transport system here is among the best in the world. Options include public buses, the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) or Light Rapid Transit (LRT) which take you to almost every corner of Singapore. The MRT is very clean, cheap and gets you round the city a lot quicker than waiting for buses or sitting in traffic. We did a small tour on the MRT, and it is fascinating to see the parts of the City State outside of the commercial areas.

Finally, don’t forget the Singapore Flyer, the largest observation wheel in the world, and Marina Bay, a fantastic entertainment complex, which even has a rooftop pool (57 storeys up!)

People have said Singapore is too “clinical”? If by “clinical” they are referring to the safe, clean, reliable, efficient, well organised and orderly nature of society in the City, then we’re happy to admit - we like clinical!

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