As our flight from Kuching was delayed and Singapore's Changi airport was enormous it took us a while to finally get into Singapore. At 10pm with temperatures still soaring at 30 degrees we took a highly convenient, noticeably clean and thankfully air conditioned train from the airport to the City, stopping at the "Bugis" train stop to find digs in the culturally interesting Kampong Glam area of Singapore. We had planned to stay at one hostel but when we arrived at its mapped location, it literally was a building sight! Therefore we had to lug our bags to another recommended to us. We headed down Arab street to find a beautiful mosque with a golden roof at the head of a well presented boutique style pedestrian road. Here we stayed at the luxury of "sleepy Sams" hostel which was comfortably designed with a modern yet rustic feel. The kitchen was sparkling, as was the toilets. Our bed cost Singapore $28/12 quid and Nik and I was separated for the night because they had limited space available. Nik stayed in a room of girls who were strangely silent whilst I stayed in the common sleeping room. We slept near enough as soon as we arrived. It was nice that our first hostel experience on this trip was a very comfortable and positive one.
The next morning we woke up early to get the most out of our time in Singapore. We took a look around the neighbouring little India with its colourful buildings on streets smelling of fine curry and spice. So good in fact that regardless of our sufficient free breakfast at the hostel, we sampled a tasty Masala dish. We then went to the main business district by train with the intention of changing money. We were amazed by the simplistic beauty of "Raffles Place" with the plain water fountains and well kept grass creating a modern foreground to the towering high risers surrounding it. In my opinion and from experiences, it was like the epitimy of modernity. The creative building architecture with simple designs, clean surface floors, technological suites and professionally dressed people gave this place a very futuristic feel. Quite literally most of the women were beautiful and shaped well by there fashionable clothes, men too, looking swarve with designer glasses, fashion haircuts and fitted shirts. Neighbouring shopping malls and expensive eateries develop a consumer ideology that was too much for our travellers wallets, however we enjoyed looking in the malls whilst a brief storm rained down. Soon after the rain had stopped we headed into the colonial area taking pleasure in immersing ourselves alongside the historic buildings now dwarfed by the modern skyline. One negative thing about Singapore is that you cant J-walk, one of the many street rules that in my opinion is a mere inconvenience! With no traffic passing we had to wait minutes until the traffic light flashed the green man! I lost my patients and decided to take the law into my own hands..! We visited the esplande, a porcupine like building that sticks from the colonial buildings surrounding it. Here we planned our evening event and also took a stroll beside the harbour area with a nice view of the business district and some funky childlike statues that made our heads look like a telly-tubbies when we stuck our faces through its holes! Afterwards we visited the famous colonial "raffles hotel," but swiftly passed by! Onto the shopping district of Orchard road. We had walked far today and were lagging. A result for me because we didnt have to shop too much. We went in a few of the many ultra modern shopping plaza's along the district before taking the train back to our hostel. We ate locally around Kampong Glam and then headed back to the Esplenade for the evenings show. Here we watched a very camp duet accompanied by a piano and all for free. Afterwards we headed to Clarkes Quay, a cosmopolitan location with a good variety of bars, bright lights and lots of things to do! Unfortunately the long day had caught up with us, particularly Nik, so we just enjoyed the surroundings rather than celebrate the end of our time in SE Asia in style. It would be a wicked place to go out though - Particularly in the bar that has wheel chairs as seats!!
For our last day in Asia, we headed to China town. Here we found a nice blend of side street markets, Chinese shop house fronted buildings and plenty of good food. We took a walk in the Singapore handicraft market which wasn't all that exciting then headed through various markets selling shop after shop of robes, fans, chopsticks and other little gifts. The subtle scent of incense soothed our noses and the colourful shop display's blended well with the bright wooden shutters on building windows. We went into one market building where an orchestra was commemorating its opening with a beautiful ancient dynastic sound. We had very good food then later went for a drink along the market side were we found ourselves in the second film set of our trip with lots of radioed workers attempting to remove the streets of shoppers incompetent as to understand that a yellow sports car, kitted with camera's would potentially run them over. Finally we headed back to our hostel to grab our rucksacks and prepare to leave Singapore for the next part of our journey.. OZ.
Thank you South East Asia...
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