I loved Singapore! I’d genuinely consider living there for a time!
Contrast is not a strong enough word to describe the difference between Mumbai and Singapore. From a City with area’s of poverty and grime like i’d never seen before (thats not to say the whole of Mumbai is like that) to a City so perfect you can get a fine for simple things like crossing the road, eating on the train or even chewing gum. Since it’s such a new City/Country it has been designed as such with the infrastructure to support it unlike some countries back in England which have developed over hundreds of years.
The airport was a breeze and before I knew it I was on the MRT (Metro) headed towards the YMCA at Number 1 Orchard road (The very plush shopping area with all the big names like Armani and Gucci). As I considering myself to be a fairly smart person I didn’t bother with a map and decided that the MRT strop Orchard would be pretty close to where I needed to be and I could find it from there. I was very wrong, having to walk in 30C heat for 2 miles
with my bags on my back and front with no water after a 5 hour flight put me in a rather bad mood.
The YMCA was lovely, rooftop pool, small but neat 4 person dorms and included breakfast. I was exhausted so went straight to sleep. There is an 8 hours difference from back home and since I didn’t suffer any lag in Mumbai it must have hit me hard in Singapore, I woke up and it was dark. The dorm was empty so not wanting to waste any time I decided to head out and explore on my own. Those of you on facebook will have seen my photo’s from the first nights exploration. I’ll admit i’m a bit of a geek when it comes to architecture and Singapore was a real treat. Having no clue of my way round I found it easier to stop and ask people for directions. Everyone was more than accommodating and very friendly. It seems pretty much everyone speaks English and all signs are in English to so navigating the City couldn’t be easier.
I was advised to get the MRT to Boodles Place, when I exited the station I was
surrounded by skyscrapers. Having only been to London 3 times buildings that tall is not something I’m particularly accustomed to the fact it was a full moon on a perfectly clear night and they were all brightly lit with Neon and LED’s added to the affect. I have to hand it to them Singapore at Night blew me away. I spent the rest of the night wandering, getting purposefully lost and talking to random people. I’m a big fan of the many Malls (Most MRT stops have a mall attached and there are lots of stops), to be precise i’m a big fan of the food courts in each Mall. Usually located on the bottom floor they are a real treat offering pretty much every type of culinary delight imaginable all for ridiculously low prices compared to the rest of Singapore. My first meal cost me $4 inc a drink. That’s £2! Unfortunately despite my best efforts I was suffering from mild Delly Belly (Thanks India) so all the Chinese foods were turning my stomach. I had to settle for Cheese, Ham and Egg Creap. Luckily I was fine the next day and for the rest of the week for
that matter and enjoyed a wide variety of rice, noodles and broth and thoroughly enjoyed everyone! Fish Balls (not testicles for those with a vulgar mind) noodle soup was probably my favorite.
By the next day I’d introduced and invited myself along for the day with Ben and Mathew my Korean and Vietnamese roommates. We went to the Singapore Bird park (Not something I would have chosen but I couldn't spend another day wandering on my own). It turns out I had a great day with the bird show being the highlight, with a talking parrot and other aerial performances . That night I sat outside with Ben and Mathew drinking Koran alcohol which tasted like watered down vodka, and eating Koran instant noodles, proper seaweed and some fruit which the name escapes me (it wasn't durians), it was lovely see the attached photo of the various snackage. We used my laptop to show the area’s we came from and told stories about home.
I only had two nights in the YMCA so the next day I set out to find RuckSack 3 a hostel on Lavender road, cue me making the same mistake and getting off at
Lavender MRT and having to walk for ages again! I picked up a stray on the way who had been up all night after not finding anywhere to sleep (big mistake, he was the only guy who snored in the 14 bed dorm and his bunk was above mine! Me and my good deeds).
Lavender Street is at the top of Little India (although in my opinion it was much more like china town). Little India is not perfect like Orchard Road or the Entertainment/Business districts I had explored the previous nights. It had a lot more life about though, with little makeshift shrines burning incense and offerings of cake. It seemed to be open at all hours and its a great area to people watch. I managed to get lost every time I ventured out by exiting from a different exit at the MRT I think there were 6 exits out of a choice of 3 different MRT’s in the area so you can see my problem.
The next two days got a little lonely, the hostel was great, very neat with free wifi and toast at all hours. People staying at the hostel were not particularly
friendly or spoke no English, since I skipped Mandarin in school we had no similar ground.
On the last day I went to Sentosa island. Its essentially a huge theme park hosting a Universal Studio’s Underwater World plus many other excessively expensive attractions. There are also man made beaches on the southern tip, unfortunately the view was not great as it was mostly oil transporters and refineries. Since i’ll be visiting some beautiful beaches later in my trip I decided to give them a miss.
I went to the underwater world which is your standard sea life centre with underwater travelator tunnel and petting pools. I found the richer Indian’s horrendously rude here. They would barge in front of you, block walk ways and let their kids run wild. I know I sound old saying that but they really were a joke when everyone else seemed to be able to wait in line etc. I also had a ride on the Tiger Beer sky tower as I thought I could make a good addition to my video. It was £7 for a 5 min ride up to the top of a viewing tower, although the included pint of
Tiger Beer did help alleviate the high cost. The views were stunning and you can see the stunning Singapore skyline as well as Malasia and Indonesia.
That night I headed out for a Singapore Sling at the famous Raffles Hotel. This is where the Singapore sling was invented. It was gorgeous but so it should be for the price I paid for one night in the Hostel (£15). I then walked to the huge hotel with three towers and what looks like a warped ship on the roof. I’d been told there was a casino at the top and my aim was to get up there for a bit of Black Jack. Unfortunately I’d been misinformed and the Casino was on the basement level and I could find no way to the top unless I was a guest with a key card.
I thoroughly enjoyed Singapore but its a difficult place to recommend when travelling on a shoe string as drinking and attractions as well as accommodation is expensive. I’d love to go back with a bigger budget and really take advantage of all the country has to offer.
My love for travelling started in India 5 years ago.
Unfortunately I could not fully satisfy my travelling urges due to work and home commitments and had never been away for more than 3 weeks. So this is it 2011, the year I leave my life in the UK behind and travel to Asia. I’m look forward to making friends and many happy memories on the way.
I hope you enjoy my blog which will be starting on the 8th of August 2011 where so far I will be travelling from London to Mumbai to Singapore then a month’s Muay Thai training in Phuket Thailand.. Then who knows. I don’t want to make set plans ... full info
Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819. It joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 but separated two years later and became independent. It subsequently became one of the world's most prosperous countries with strong international ...more info