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afra069 Singapore - A travel report by Amy
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Singapore,  Singapore - flag Singapore
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afra069's travel reports

Singapore photo hotspots

  5 votes

chinatown- shopping and culture.
chinatown- shopping and culture.
It's a beautiful city, which cannot be appreciated in a great hurry. It really is a bustling metropolis, but the people will amaze you with their laid-back and helpful manner. Even those who do not speak your language (English for me) are willing to bend over backwards to give you the right directions, recommend you a good restaurant or tell you the best places to go to get a good bargain. If you thrive on the heat, then Singapore is for you. If you don't, well you can expect even public toilets to be predominantly air-con. The tourist trail is easy to find, and in a few days it can be well explored. But if the commercial tour isn't your cup of tea, there is double as much to do, of your own accord. With one of the easiest and cheapest transport systems around, going out on your lonesome doesn't seem so scary after all. Overall, fantastic city, and can't wait to go back!

Favourite spots:
View from Sengkang HDB, towards the City
View from Sengkang HDB, towards the City
Try the night markets for a taste of something a little different. A lot of HDB flats (the predominant housing in Singapore) have these night markets. The Satay Club at the Festival Markets is a must. It is only there at night, and very crowded, but is really worth it. Take a taxi (they all know where it is) or and MRT to avoid the city surcharges. The hawkers will try guide you to a table, but be aware you are then obliged to eat from their stall. If in doubt, I recommend satay stall #1. Under the bridge by the Singapore icon of the Merlion gives you a fantastic view of Suntec City and its two domes. Wonderful and ingenious. View either here, or take a bumboat from Clarke Quay for a good, close up photo opportunity. Serangoon Road is known as Little India. Easy to get to and has a host of fabric shops (for sarees) and places to eat. Komala Villas is recommended, but for something a little more authentic and intimate, there are plenty of other cafes.

What's really great:
Chinatown- a mix of old and new.
Chinatown- a mix of old and new.
You can take as many photos as you like of a place, but if the food isn't good then its a downer on your holiday. For travellers, whilst the accommodation is expensive, you can more then make up for it with the outstanding and cheap food. There are big open air hawker centres of more expensive air-con ones. Else, try the food centres under the HDB flats, all over Singapore. The scenery is amazing (places hardly make you feel like you are in a crowded city), but the people really made the trip for me. You really feel like they are all out to help you, and it makes for a special and memorable trip.

View of City over the cricket ground
View of City over the cricket ground
For panoramic views of Singapore, go to Mt Faber. You can walk up, drive, or catch a cable car from the World Trade Centre. It's breath taking and the best place to get your album cover shot.

For views of the port, nearby islands and far off Indonesian islands, go over to Sentosa Island (across from Mt Faber, walk or take the cable care) and go to the top of the giant merlion. Also hang around and watch the night laser light show. Its well worth the wait.

The night safari is a must, even Singaporeans love it! if you can, avoid the tour groups and you will get an even more intimate experience. The zoo is next door, so make it a day.

Many up-market hotels along the Singapore River
Many up-market hotels along the Singapore River
Cheap accommodation is hard to find in Singapore, so for the backpacker it definately pays to search outside the mainstream hostels and hotels. There are plenty of small inns, usually run by families, fronted by small restaurants. For the more money thrifty, the hotels along Orchard Road are amazing. Service is wonderful and the actual hotels are spotless and beautiful. Even if you aren't staying, you should go in an soak up the air con!

Everybody talks of the Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel... and believe me, its not overrated!

Local transport, surrounded by local hawker fare
Local transport, surrounded by local hawker fare
When in Rome... or so the saying goes. Drop the upmarket restaurants(and yes there are plenty of them) and have dinner with the locals at one of the many open air hawker centres. the food is amazing and it won't break the bank. I reccomend the Stanley St Food Centre or Festival Markets. Festival Markets are more expensive, but host the night time Satay Club, and the atmosphere itself is worth a night out.

You can get anything from pig organ soup, to the more docile wonton noodle soup. However, from my experience, the scarier the dish, the better it is.

A must try is ICE KACHANG, unbelievable way to beat the heat. Also, whilst expanding your culinary horizons, try a durian ice kachang. Its the taste and smell of durian without going the whole hog. If you can handle this, try the real thing, even if it is just to tell everyone at home... hey I tried durian (its actually quite nice, just block your nose).

Commercial- got to try Bread Talk!

Final word- be adventurous!

Other recommendations:
Esplanade near Suntec City
Esplanade near Suntec City
Sun Tec city, houses the durian-like domes and a giant fountain (not to mention a pretty good shopping centre). This is linked to City Hall via and under ground walkway, its air con and full of shops!

Holland Park- this is where all the ex-pats live. So is very well off and well worth a wonder round. Not to mention it is home of NYDC, and amazing and very funky restaurant. Look it up on the web. You have to try the mud pies! I still can't forget them!

So many other places to take in, in Singapore. Its amazing that such a small place can house so much. It really keeps drawing my back, so it's well worth leaving the airport transit lounge... make it a stopover!

Published on Tuesday September 16th, 2003

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