Farewell Vietnam 🇻🇳 and hello Singapore 🇸🇬


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Asia » Singapore » Changi
February 1st 2018
Published: February 5th 2018
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Friday 2nd February 2018

Awake a little earlier today to finish off the packing and enjoy a leisurely breakfast before we head off to Da Nang airport for the next and final leg of our south east Asia adventure. We have loved our time in Hoi An on this our second visit. It’s a place that has so much to see and do with a beautiful old town, great countryside and a nice beach not far away. We will be sad to say goodbye to this special place. Also we will be sad to leave the Camellia Homesta, it’s been a perfect place for us. A family who really do care for their guests and want them to enjoy their hospitality. The rooms are big, facilities great and the breakfasts are huge with a great selection of choices. Plus of course we enjoyed some real home cooked Vietnamese food! We can strongly recommend this place. Breakfast done we checked out, took a couple of pictures and said a sad farewel. However not before the Homestay owners had given us both a small gift - a tie for John and sil scarf for Sarah. Waved goodbye and jumped into the car for the journey to the airport and our 3hr 30min flight with Silk Air to Singapore. On arrival at the airport we unloaded and headed into the terminal - uh oh......wrong terminal, this was for domestic internal flights. Back out of the terminal to see the car still parked up and driver chatting on phone, profuse apologies all round and threw bags back in car for the 2 min journey to the international terminal. Check in and thro security quickly, just time to grab a coffee and by a couple of small items to get rid of our last Vietnamese dong which are worthless anywhere else. Boarded flight and took off on time. Sarah settled down with her crossword book whilst John watched a downloaded film and then we had the delights of lunch.....we both decided on the seafood pasta option. On approach to Changi Airport you cannot help but notice the cargo ships parked up watin* to enter Singapore port.....this really is a busy place. Arrived Singapore where the temperature was 27C and lots of warm rain.🌧 Thro arrivals, picked up the bags and made our way to the MRT to pick up a travel card and board the train for the first leg of our journey to our Airbnb accomodation. The directions we were given were great so we hopped on and off trains like veterans. All going swimmingly well until we came down an escalator just as a train was about to leave.....a scene from a comedy then followed as John got on, doors closed and Sarah was on the platform making goldfish sounds as the train pulled away. John translated as get off next stop up. The transportation system in Singapore is so efficient Sarah didn’t have long to wait and John rejoined her at the next station. The interlinking of the bus and train services was very efficient. Looking out from the bus everywhere was so clean, plus notices advising no food or drink on trains/buses. We like Singapore already. Arrived at 37 Serangoon Garden Way to be met by Ronnie who welcomed us in, gave us a comprehensive introduction of all we could do in Singapore, furnished us with maps, showed us our room and we settled in. Around 7pm we ventured out for a walk and quick explore of the local area to get our bearings.....first task was the hawker/food Centre -found no problem. We will never be hungry for sure! There was a large amount of different food available from all over Asia, to much to take in really but in the end we went for the Thai Kitchen specials....main reason was because it was very busy and people had been queueing to get in. Good meal at a good price. We then strolled back up to our room and it was time for a bit of tv and bed. Long day, tired out.

Saturday 3rd February 2018

Awake early after a good nights sleep, so it was shower and dressed and we were off out by 8am. We decided to join a 3hr free walking tour of Chinatown to start us off. Just opposite the place we are staying was a bus stop which took us to the MRT terminal. Negotiated the MRT system no problems and by 9am were in Chinatown. The walk started at 9:30am so time for a short wander around before we joined everyone else and headed off. A very interesting walk which took us to the main places of interest and also given a lot of information about the area. Good start to the day. Singapore is a fast paced city but from what we have seen so far it’s all very organised, structured, clean and very safe. There are severe penalties in place for contravening the law. Walk over we then did a stroll thro Chinatown and some of the more interesting side streets......so many stalls selling everything you could need. As it was lunchtime we decided to go to Hawker Chans place......this place has a Michelin star so we had to visit. The cost of course was less than a Big Mac and coke! A queue was already in place so we joined it and slowly made our way to the front. There signature dish of soy chicken with rice or noodles was ordered and we squeezed alongside others and enjoyed our meal. Onwards to Little India via the MRT and again a nice wander around. We have never seen so much gold and jewellery in one place and they were doing a roaring trade. Add to this the material shops and Sarah was in heaven. She did spot a dress that she liked and decided to make the purchase. Went in Mustafa Centre Mall......we barely touched the surface of this huge place ......it was unbelievable. Also there are so many food outlets available you just spin in circles trying to take them all in. Stopped off for a fruit juice before then jumping back on the MRT to Clarkes Quay. Very modern down on the river, but like some posh riverside spots in London....aka Canary Wharf, or a bigger version of the quays in Exeter. Sat and enjoyed a beer before a walk around the area taking in the skyline. Then it was back to Chinatown where the crowds had grown and it was a struggle to walk around so we decided to call it a day and it was back to Serangoon Gardens to the hawker centre for a quick Indian meal before hometime, shower and bed. We think we must be looking a bit like rabbits in headlights trying to take it all in, Singapore is a great place. Another full on day tomorrow.

Sunday 4th February 2018

Another day of exploring this vibrant city. Today as a special treat and surprise John has booked Sunday brunch at The Fullerton Hotel on the waterfront. So spent some time this morning making ourselves reasonably respectable before heading off
Orderly Singapore. Signs on the MRTOrderly Singapore. Signs on the MRTOrderly Singapore. Signs on the MRT

If your boarding stand in red zone.Green zone is to allow those to get off first.
to the hotel. Our table booking was for 12:30 and brunch lasts till 3:30pm with a choice of either the buffet with free flowing champagne and alcohol option or the soft drinks option. Wonder what we chose? 🙂 Arrived 15mins early so time to have a look around this impressive old hotel. Lovely is all we can say. Into the Town Restaurant and seated at our table. From then on you have a choice of so many different food stations to work your way thro; fish and seafood, pasta, sushi/Japanese, bbq, roasts, curry section, vegetarian, salads plus then a vast array of deserts and pastries plus a very good cheese table. There were so many things available at each food station you could never sample them all. Plus a counter full of different types of bread. Then there was the make your own Bloody Mary cocktail......all ingredients and instructions provided. Throughout the whole 3hrs the free flow alcohol was available, you could have whatever drinks you wanted including our choice; the champagne. Yes it was free flow....at no time did we ask for our glass to be topped up, as soon as it was empty it was refilled. The atmosphere was lovely, a few birthday celebrations happening which of course the musicians had to play “happy birthday” every time ......the service was with a smile and it was a real special treat and highlight of our travels. Fantastic afternoon. Feeling very very full and just a tad tipsy we decided to catch the MRT to the Raffles Hotel. Maybe it was the drink or maybe it was just us but it took us an age to find the place hidden in amongst all the high rise buidings. Plus also there were big hoardings around it as it is undergoing a refurb, however the signs all indicated the famous Long Bar was open. WRONG.......when we eventually got to the hotel the only thing open was the gift shop, no bar, no hotel.......refurb due completion mid 2018. We were just a little peeved to say the least. We did wonder why they couldnt put a sign out in the MRT to let people know......and also remove the hoarding signs which indicate the Long Bar is open for business. Oh well, never mind.....we decided to jump on the MRT and head to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and go to the top floor for cocktails. It was well worth it........a little breezy but the views were stunning and we caught the late afternoon swimmers in the pool and then after the sun set we saw a stunning Singapore skyline by night. It really was spectacular. Decided to leave about 7:30pm and as we were walking to the lift another viewing area overlooked Marina Bay Gardens.....again they were lit up and looked stunning. Whilst waiting we were chatting to an American lady who said hang on 15mins and you will see the light show in the gardens. It looked really good from our viewpoint at the top of the hotel. Finally we headed down the 57 floors to the huge lobby/entrance/shopping and casino area and back to the MRT station and home. A really special day for us both. The pictures don’t really do it justice.

Monday 5th February 2018

Decided on walk around the Serangoon Gardens area as it wasn’t far from where Johns mum and dad lived in their married quarter when they were out here with the RAF in the early 60s. The old married qtrs have long gone and everything has changed so much, however the street names remain.....instantly recognised as British with names like Medway Drive, Braemar Drive and Cowdray Avenue where their married quarter used to be. Had a good look around and whilst there have been so many changes, you can still see and recognise the old bungalows even tho they may have added extra floors or extensions on the side. After taking pics for Johns Dad we then headed out to the Singapore Botanical Gardens......what a fabulous place. Beautiful gardens all immaculately maintained as is all of Singapore. Fantastic place to just wander around. Plus it’s a real oasis of calm, peace and quiet and a great escape from the frenetic pace outside. We went into the rain forest section, before eventually arriving at the Orchid Gardens. You do have to pay to get in but boy is it worth it! A bargain for John as over 60s get in for $1.50 whilst those under 60 pay $3! Once inside the variety of orchids is stunning, the camera never stops clicking. The whole garden is a riot of colour. We spent over 4hrs at this venue and still needed another 4hrs to even see and appreciate it all. As well as strolling around the gardens we wandered thro the rain forest section, the ginger forest, the orchid gardens of course and lots of other areas. Singapore never fails to delight that’s for sure. We then headed off to the Colbar an ex military/colonial bar haunt which is hidden in amongst a very posh business/science park area. However around the Colbar are old barrack block type buildings used by the British with familiar names such as Aden block, Waterloo block etc. Sadly Colbar was shut but never mind .....next time. Then it was back into town and down to the Gardens on the Bay for a stroll around. Nice but nowhere near as established or impressive as our previous gardens. Then on the MRT again as we headed towards an area of funky bars close to Chinatown which had a nice atmosphere and good music and food. The biggest challenges for us have been exiting the MRT stations and knowing which entrance to come out of. The transport system is superb with MRT trains running every few minutes and rarely have we had to wait more than a minute or two, plus the interconnects with the buses is bang on but when we exit form the MRT it’s often into a large shopping mall........then that’s where things go wrong. They are huge and Singaporeans love to shop and eat.....l.not only are there shops of every description but also food courts covering vast areas. In fact the food courts have seen us walk in and we are overwhelmed by the amount of vendors and choice, sometimes its just to much. We have come to the conclusion that nearly everyone must eat out all,the time as places were packed or busy all the time. Eventually we wandered back into Chinatown and selected an eating spot and enjoyed supper......bbq stir fried beef for Sarah and the bbq stir fry chicken for John. Washed down with a large Tiger beer. Then a slow walk thro the stalls, street traders etc of Chinatown, plying their goodies. On the street selling different foodstuffs or snacks many were giving away free samples.....real peanuts of all varieties and flavours garlic, hot pepper, creamy tasting, just amazing. Dragged ourselves back to our accommodation. A quick chat with Ronnie and his wife who own this house and whose family have all now left home so the rooms are rented via Airbnb. So tired when we got back and after a shower we fell into bed.....sleep soon followed. We have walked miles today. Sadly only 3 more days in this great city.


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Fish and seafood counter Fullerton HotelFish and seafood counter Fullerton Hotel
Fish and seafood counter Fullerton Hotel

So many food stations, fish, roast, Japanese, salad, pasta, bbq, curry, cheese, pastry, deserts, bread and even a diy Bloody Mary station!


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