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mistybleu Singapore City - A travel report by Amanda
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Singapore City,  Singapore - flag Singapore
4157 readers

mistybleu's travel reports

48 hours in Singapore

  10 votes
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The clock was ticking as there was much to do for a short visit. So after stepping off my flight from Ho Chi Minh, I headed for Orchard Road via my hotel to indulge in one of Singaporeans favourite past times - shopping and then to dinner for another.


Sinagpore's cityscape
Sinagpore's cityscape
The first thing you notice when entering Singapore is the amount of container ships in the harbour and that is because it has one of the world’s busiest ports and historically an important trade route. But the hype is justified as Singapore has one of the largest financial centres in the world and is a complete success story in the region.

This beautiful island state has come a long way from its humble beginnings of a fishing village when it was ceded to Englishman Sir Stamford Raffles for the British East India Company and then when it was rejoined to Malaysia after it gained independence from the UK. But the past has been kept alive around the city, with many streets, buildings, park etc: Raffles Hotel, Stamford Street, Stamford City etc, but you get my drift, I suppose this is what Stamford Raffles dreamt of.

42% of the nation are foreigners, although I wonder who are considered indigenous but these make up 50% of the service industry, which means as tourists these are the people we are most like to come across.

So I’m not too sure how many true locals I came across, but boy what a wonderful please to visit. Everything was clean and in its place; after coming from Ho Chi Minh where there is so much hustle and bustle, with a lots of people, motorbikes, intense heat, smog and people eating on the pavements. To visit a country like Singapore where the traffic actually stops for you to cross the road and eating on the street could be considered silver service in comparison - it was amazing for Asia.

Favourite spots:
Welcome to Singapore - The Marlion
Welcome to Singapore - The Marlion
Somehow I was impressed with Changi International. I’m of the opinion that getting in and out of an airport as quickly as possible is paramount. I know that is frowned upon as a lot of research goes into creating the shopping experience allowing the holiday to start in the airport by opening up the purse strings.

But Changi for me, has added a new dimension and that was entertainment, not just arcades and Tvs but something for everyone.

I found tucked away a nursery area complete with changing facilities, TV showing cartoons and a fast food joint.

Then the smoking area was outside in the pleasant cactus garden. I don’t smoke but found a nice place to send a few minutes and enjoy the last rays of sunshine.

But much more was the swimming pools and free half day tour of the city etc.

I’m sure there are better airports out there but I was impressed.

What's really great:
Little India
Little India
It seems that the neighbourhood are still split by ethnic origins, or more to the point, have larger concentrations, which was a little surprising. They have to the north-west Little India, south of the Singapore River Chinatown, Arab Street, the north-east the Kampong Glam the Malayan quarter and on the north side of the river the colonial past that has a Raffles statue surveying his neighbourhood. Even the modern new money is represented, with the financial district and the unique skyscrapers. All of this provides an unique diversity.

Little India - the Sri Veerama Kaliamman is a wonderful Hindu temple located on Serangoon Road to visit. There is also a huge 24 hour shopping centre - Mustafa.

Arab Street - the golden-domed Sultan Mosque is a favourite spot as it is the largest mosque in the city and offers non muslins a chance to see and experience the acts of devotions.

Sights:
Firestation
Firestation
The official flower of Singapore is the Orchid, however as most of them are grown for export, the best place to see them is in the Botanical Gardens.

Try going to the Zoo - day or night. The night safari have become very popular, as it gives a chance see nocturnal animals on one of the three paths.

Another interesting place to visit is the Jurong Bird Park, even if you don’t have kids it is fun to explore.

As with most cities, Singapore now has a big wheel - the Singapore Flyer which offers great panoramic views.

Merlion Park is a great central point, where you can see the Merlion welcome statute and take a bumboat rides in Marina Sands Bay and up the Singapore River.

A Singaporean pastime is either shopping or eating. For shopping Orchard Road is the main buzz, with so many malls, designer brands and small shops keeps anyone entertained. For the electronics, I headed for the Funan Digitalife Mall and it really was amazing - such variety.

Accommodations:
Raffles Hotel
Raffles Hotel
My taxi driver enlightened me that where I was staying would no longer exist in a few months, as there are plans to tear it down and put up some condos, what with limited space on the island and it being close to the city centre I could quite imagine. He said 'take plenty of pictures of this building as it won't be here the next time’, he must have been assuming that I would have a fondness for the Orchid Hotel. But as it happened it wasn't a great hotel and it really looked tired, for a 1960s built building. The facilities were good, but for me it was in dire need of being redecorated.

Singapore has some really lovely hotels (like any major city), especially some of the five stars ones. For example I love the opulence and history of Raffles or the modern glamour of Millennia Marina Sands or even the Chinese inspired Marriot Hotel on Orchard Road; and whilst there must be cheaper hotels around, in a city like this you just have to splash out.

Hangouts:
Singapore Sling
Singapore Sling
Nearly all tourists at one point or another head to Raffles' Long Bar to try one of their infamous Singapore Sling where it was invented, back in the late 1800s.

It is available in most bars even though it isn’t on the menu, you just have to ask; but there is a certain ‘Je ne sais pas’ about ordering it at Raffles. For me, whilst I prefer Champagne cocktails this was a great experience, with the traditional décor of the Long Bar, to the waiters in their local inspired uniform, to the monkey nuts on the tables and he shells on the floor; but what more would I want. I believe it is made by pouring 1/2 oz of grenadine syrup into the bottom of a Collins glass and fill with ice. Add an ounce of gin and almost-fill with equal parts of sweet and sour and chilled soda. Top with cherry brandy, and serve unstirred, garnished with a cherry. It was very refreshing and costs S$ 29.45.

Restaurants:
Singapore Chili Crab
Singapore Chili Crab
Out of town, near the airport is the East Coast Seafood Park where there are a few, well 8 restaurants specialising in seafood. Two of the island’s signature dishes are chilli and black pepper crab; here's one really tasty recipe for chilli crab:

Mixture A - pound to a paste 4 cloves of garlic, 10 shallots, 1/2 thumb-sized pieces ginger.

For mixture B - mix in a bowl 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp chilli sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tbsp light Soya sauce, 8 tbsp tomato ketchup.

For mixture C - mix in bowl 2 tbsp corn flour, 4 tbsp water.

Finally you need 6 tbsp oil, 1.5kg crabs, cleaned and in pieces and 1 beaten egg.

Heat 4 tbsp oil in a wok and fry mixture A for a few minutes. Add crab and 1/3 of mixture B. Stir for 2 minutes over a high flame. Add remainder of mixture B, stir and cover wok for 10 minutes. Add mixture C and stir well. Finally add beaten egg, mix thoroughly and eat immediately.

Other recommendations:
Kuala Lumpar Central City
Kuala Lumpar Central City
Singapore is just on the tip of the Malayan peninsular and is quite often used as a layover to or from Australia. But it in a perfect location for exploring the region, only 2 hours from Bangkok or an 1 ½ from Siem Reap or an 1:20 from Ho Chi Minh City.

However just think, with only a 40 minute flight you can be in KLCC enjoying another metropolis or to one of the Malayan islands like Penang or Langkawi. Or for something a litter quieter, just aboard the ferry and head for Bintan Island, one the many Indonesians idyllic islands. This costs between S$49-59 and takes about an hour to reach paradise. The only downfall is that you have to obtain a Indonesian visa, but the good thing is that it is only around $10.

Failing that there is a few other islands off the Singapore mainland including Pulau Ubin which also allows you to enjoy a slice of heaven.

Published on Saturday June 5th, 2010


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Wed, Jun 16 2010 - 03:38 AM rating by delfster

hi Amanda...
great report from a short fly.
by the way... i am living in ho chi minh city now.
too bad i didn't know.
it's nice to know a globoers around.

Thu, Jun 10 2010 - 04:32 AM rating by louis

Very interesting report Amanda with fabulous pictures. I am getting hungry looking at the picture with "Singapore Chili Crab"

Wed, Jun 09 2010 - 07:45 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Good report. I hope that you met Gloria in Singapore.

Mon, Jun 07 2010 - 07:25 AM rating by krisek

Good report with nice pictures, Amanda. Well done! It seems to me that you had better time in Singapore than I when I had gone there a few years before you. I can see that things have changed a little, as well. I am not sure about the claim that Singapore is the fourth largest economy in Asia... Apart from Japan and Hong Kong, also China, India, South Korea, Turkey, Indonesia, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Thailand, the UAE, Malaysia and perhaps even Pakistan have all larger economies ;) Although Singapore's GDP per capita measured by the purchasing power is very high, I think the fourth in the world. Sorry for my economist's high buskins - occupational hazard, I guess.

Sat, Jun 05 2010 - 04:01 PM rating by pesu

Good report, Amanda! Thanks for the recipe - it sounds delicious! :)

Sat, Jun 05 2010 - 03:20 PM rating by jacko1

Thankyou for this excellent report Amanda, it gives a very good insight into this fascinating place!

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