Published: June 28th 2011June 28th 2011
Coming from Malapascua island in the Philippines, where there were no ATMs, no cars, and the only business revolved around fishing and diving, you can imagine the extreme contrast of Singapore. We were hit by this the moment we stepped off the plane into Changi airport; it was an attraction in itself and we could have stayed there for ages! There were computer stations dotted around everywhere for free use of internet, entertainment boards,. shops galore and even free sweets and water!! After we had finished wandering wide-eyed around the airport, we took the very user-friendly MRT train into the city where we located our pre-booked (rather pricey) hotel.
For such a small country, Singapore has hundreds of sights and attractions. Due to our slightly tighter budget compared to your average Singapore tourist, we spent our day exploring the cheaper but equally as beautiful sights that Singapore had to offer. We began by purchasing a tourist travel card; a great value ticket that allows you all day travel on the train and bus anywhere in Singapore. Our first stop on our DIY tour was to the MacRitchie Reservoir; a pleasant, quiet retreat away from the busy city that has some
beautiful walking trails through some well animal-inhabited rainforest. The park surrounds a peaceful reservoir, where you can sit on a bench and watch kayakers drift past on their morning training sessions. We then took the bus and visited the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See monastery (quite a mouthful); a wonderful compound of dragon-topped and Buddha-filled pagodas. It was lovely to walk the peaceful grounds and gaze at the beautiful architecture (the free vegetarian lunch for visitors was also a big draw)! As we were leaving the monastery, it seemed that Singapore was engulfed by a huge dark cloud, which brought with it the loudest and heaviest rainstorm we have ever experienced! The sound of the thunder accompanied by the crackling of lighting was deafening, and even stepping from the bus shelter into the bus drenched you like a bucket of water had been tipped onto your head! We thought this would be a good time to explore the shopping malls of Orchard road. The shopping here is up there with the retail giants of New York and London; LCD screen-covered shopping malls line the streets offering you all the brand name stores under the Sun. The "great Singapore sale"
was also on which attracted flocks of people searching for a bargain!
Our last stop of the day was Marina Bay, where we caught some lovely views of the central business district across the water as the day turned into night. We found a nice spot to relax and view the huge buildings and the city lights at night which were very impressive, and we were treated to an ever more impressive light and fire show, accompanied by live music which we think may have been celebrating the arrival of the German chancellor Angela Merkel.
The following morning, before our evening flight, we explored Singapore's "Little India". Similar to Malaysia, it was a great place to visit and was the best and cheapest place to eat. Lucy got a great vegetarian lamb curry and spicy beef dish for $1; very cheap, especially for Singapore standards.
After another trip into the CBD, we departed the 21st century metropolis for Indonesia...
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