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Published: June 12th 2014
Singapore… I think we spent most of our time here with our mouths open as we gazed up at the ridiculous engineering feats that crowd the skyline. It seemed the most contrasting place we could have finished our trip with. There is so much wealth on display in Singapore, with mega-malls and gravity-defying skyscrapers all through the CBD. We were told that in some of the malls (actually pretty much all of them given the last 3 months of holidaying) we would only be able to afford to shop in the basement levels. Prices rise as the building does, so seeing street level Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana and Versace shops made us feel pretty intimidated! I prefer Aberconbie and Friche or Procshe, same same but different.
Singapore is also a very well planned city and there are freeways to connect you quickly to any other part of the island. The island is also very green and there is in fact an area that is original primary forest with wild animals. The greenery balances the concrete city nicely.
We stayed with our Singaporean friend PC that we had studied with in Sydney previously. He and his
mother were fantastic hosts and showed us many of the local sights and also took us to their favourite food places. Amongst many fantastic meals the standouts were the Hainanese chicken rice, clam laksa and Xiao long bao dumplings. We stood in awe while looking at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel (if you don't know of it, you should look it up) and walked around the man made fresh water reservoir that was previously ocean. As we walked I thought back on all the delicious food we had devoured. It was a nice moment. Then we had ice cream.
During the days in Singapore we visited two gardens completely enclosed within manmade domes and air-conditioned so as to allow foreign plants to grow (Gardens by the Bay). They were very impressive. One dome had a 7 storey tower within it complete with waterfall and covered in different plants. On one of the other days we visited the Singapore Zoo and went through the Rivers of the World exhibition which was fantastic. We saw Pandas and dugongs and otters and many other animals. We also went shopping in one of the many malls and I got to buy
some fries smothered in chilli cheese.
All-in-all, Singapore is a great island city for a short visit. It is very clean (almost bordering on hospital-like) and well organised but there is a 'dingier' side of Singapore that you can see when you go out to eat. That's not to say that the food is dirty. But you are truly amongst the locals when you line up for famous dishes from hawker stalls that serve only that one dish. If nothing else, Singapore is worth visiting just for the food.
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