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Asia » Singapore
February 18th 2007
Published: March 4th 2007
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Sydney to Singapore


Clarke QuayClarke QuayClarke Quay

Singapore
Our first taste of Asia - Singapore - was a gentle introduction to the culture, customs and hot and sticky weather of Southeast Asia. After a 30 min air-conditioned metro ride (why can't London tubes have A/C???) from the Airport to Bugis MRT-station (Mass Rapid Transit) we arrived at Bugis Backpackers Hostel, in central Singapore.

Stepping out on the street, even at night, was a chock. The humid and hot air hits you instantly, like stepping into a sauna. Luckily our room had a maybe too efficient A/C. Straight to bed after a long flight. Tomorrow is shopping day.

Sim Lim Square is not really a square, but a square 5-story building, full of shops selling electronic stuff. H was hunting for a new mp3 player and D for a new lens. The shopping experience was a bit of a disappointment. Prices were not nearly as cheap as we had expected. The Sony Walkman-stick H settled for was just a touch under the price in Australia and D's lens was 10-15%!l(MISSING)ower than in London, despite fierce haggling at half a dozen shops, both at Sim Lim Square and Sim Lim Tower. B&H in New York (Big Apple) (where we
Sim Lim SquareSim Lim SquareSim Lim Square

Tiny centre of the fairly huge place - all round the sides of this opening were 100s of shops selling everything from dyi cable building stuff to cameras to HI-FI bits to mobile decoration trinkets...
bought camera gear at the beginning of our trip) would probably been able to lower these prices and been more service-minded and friendly in the process. Nevermind, it was still cheaper than in Sweden and we got a few dollars back on the GST tax refund at the airport. Tired of shopping, we had some food at the food stalls next to Sim Lim Square and went to bed.

A bit late out of bed, we had trouble finding the sightseeing bus at first and had to ask about a gezillion people. No one knew. Finally, there was a bus arriving at a bus stop near us and we jumped on. After the hour's ride, we stopped at Raffles Hotel, to take some pictures and change to another sightseeing bus taking us to a different part of town. A Singaporean man came up to us.
- How long have you been in Singapore?
- Two days.
- That's two days to many! You have to get out of here. Please don't waste your time in Singapore. There's nothing to see and it's too expensive!
- So, how long have you lived here?
- Most of my life. I spent a few years in Australia, lovely country, going to university, but I had to move back to support my family. Please promise me that you leave as soon as you can, he said just as our new bus arrived.

We had another four days before our flight to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC, Saigon) and until our multiple entry visa to Vietnam started. Malaysia is only 40 min away. Let's go there for a few days! A quick read in the Lonely Planet gave us the idea that Malacca (Melaka in Malay) (Happy New Year - of the Pig!), a few hours' bus ride on the west coast, would be a good destination for a couple of days. The east coast, where, from what we understand, the best beaches are, was just at the end of the monsoon season and therefore boats to the islands could easily be cancelled. With a flight out of Sinapore in four days, we didn't want to risk getting stuck on an island. Malacca it is! Just a quick trip to the Zoo and the Night Safari first.

We had heard a lot of good things about the Zoo. The animals would be very happy (with the understandable exception
TempleTempleTemple

Not sure if the Christmas-type lights were for the New Year or a permanent fixture.
of the two Polar Bears). This would be one of the best Zoos in the world! With high expectations you're easily disappointed - and we were. Have the people who speak/write highly of Singapore Zoo ever visited Kolmarden, Sweden, where the animals have acres to roam around in? The only animals that seemed to enjoy themselves remotely were the otters, but they usually seem happy, pretty much anywhere. The rest looked miserable in their small cages, especially the cats. The white tigers were interesting to see though. A bit depressed, we left quickly for a pizza in the restaurant before the Night Safari.

This place was a little more interesting and the fishing cats were probably the highlight. However, as you walk around the compound in the dark, it's very hard to determine how much space each animal actually has, but they looked considerably more happy. Now 10 pm, it was time to leave to catch a bus to Malacca in the morning.

Back from Malacca we spent most of the day reading up on our next destination, Vietnam and Cambodia and had a late dinner in Little India. Not sure hat we ate, but the banana leaf
Dangerous state land???Dangerous state land???Dangerous state land???

What will the state do if you enter? It was only a lawn the size of a tennis court...
trays were cool!

After spending four nights in Singapore we can agree to an extent with the Singaporean man at the bus stop. There is obviously more to Singapore than a couple of sightseeing tours and shopping, but we don't feel that we need to come back anytime soon. It's not that it's unpleasant at all, but not fantastic either. The food is pretty good though. There are so many other interesting places to visit again, Chile and Australia for example.


Vart forsta smakprov av asien - Singapore - var en forsiktig introduktion till kultur, seder och bruk, och varmt och kletigt vader i sydostasien. Eter en halvtimmes tur pa en luftkonditionerad tunnelbana (carfor kan inte Londons tunnelbana ha A/C???) fran flygplatsen till Bugis MRT-station (Mass Rapid Transit) kom vi fram till Bugis Backpackers Hostel, i centrala Singapore.

Att kliva ut pa gatan, aven pa kvallen, var en chock. Den varma fuktiga luften slar emot dig som en vagg, som att kliva in i en bastu. Vart rum hade som tur var luftkonditionering, kanske lite val effektiv sadan. Rakt i sang efter en lang flygtur, imorgon ska vi handla!

Sim Lim Square ar inte ett torg utan en fyrkantig femvaningsbyggnad full av elektronikbutiker. H letade efter en ny mp3spelare och D et nytt kameraobjektiv. Det var dock en besvikelse, priserna var inte i narheten av den laga nivan vi hade forvantat oss. Sony Walkmanspelaren H kopte var bara en smula billigare an i Australien och Ds objektiv var 10-15%!l(MISSING)agre an i London, trots envist prutande i ett halvdussin affarer bade i Sim Lim Square och Sim Lim Tower. B&H i New York (Big Apple) (dar vi kopte kameragrejor i borjan av var resa) skulle formodligen ha kunnat sanka dessa priser och och varit mer serviceinriktade och trevliga pa kuppen. Hursomhelst var det billigare an i Sverige och vi fick tillbaka nagra dollar pa GSTskatteaterbetalningen pa flygplatsen. Trotta pa att handla at vi mat fran matstanden vid Sim Lim Square och gick hem och la oss.

Lite sena ur sangen hade vi till en borjan problem att hitta sightseeingbussen och fick lov att fraga eh hel dros med folk. Ingen visste. Till slut kom det en buss till busshallplatsen vid stod vid och vi hoppade pa. Efter en timmes akande hoppade vi av vid Raffles Hotel for att ta nagra bilder och byta till en annan
Bugis VillageBugis VillageBugis Village

Where our hostel was
buss som gick till en annan del av stan. En Singaporeansk man kom fram till oss.

- Hur lange har ni varit i Singapore?
- Tva dagar.
- Det ar tva dagar for mycket! Ni maste aka harifran. Odsla inte tid pa Singapore, snalla. Det finns ingenting att se och allt ar for dyrt!
- Sa hur lange har du bott har?
- Nastan hela mitt liv. Jag bodde nagra ar i Australien, fantastiskt land, nar jag pluggade pa universitetet, mern jag var tvungen att flytta tillbaka for att forsorja min familj. Lova mig att ni aker harifran sa fort ni kan! sa han precvis nar bussen kom.

Vi hade nagra dagar kvar innan vart flyg skulle ga till Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC, Saigon) och innan vart visum (for flera inresor) borjade galla. Malaysia ligger bara 40 minuter bort, sa lat oss aka dit nagra dagar! En snabblasning i (resehandboken) Lonely Planet visade att Malacca (Melaka pa Malaysiska) (Happy New Year - of the Pig!) kunde vara ett bra resmal for nagra dagar. Pa ostkusten, dar de basta stranderna verkar ligga, var det just slutet pa monsunsasongen och batar till och fran oarna kunde latt stallas in. Med en flight ut fran Singapore om bara nagra dagar ville vi inte riskera att bli fast pa en o. Malacca blir det! Bara en snabbvisit pa djurparken och Night Safari forst.

Vi hade hort en hel del positiva kommentarer om djurparken. Djuren skulle vara glada (med det forklarliga undantaget av tva isbjornar). Detta skulle vara en av de basta djurparkerna i varlden! Med hoga forvantningar blir man latt besviken - vilket vi blev. Har de som skrivit/pratar om Singapore Zoo nagonsin besokt Kolmardens Djurpark, dar djuren har hektar att bo pa?De enda sjuren som tycktes trivas var uttrarna, men de tycks vara glada var de an ar. Resten sag ynkliga ut i sina sma burar, speciellt katterna. De vita tigrarna var dock intressanta att se. Lite deprimerade at vi en snabb pizza i restaurangen innan det var dags for Night Safari.

Night Safari var lite mer intressant och de fiskande katterna var formodligen hojdpunkten. Men eftersom man vandrar omkring i morkret ar det svart att avgora hur stora inhagnader djuren har, men de sag betydligt gladare ut. Klockan 22 var det sa dags att aka darifran for att ta en buss till Melacca morgonen efter.

Tilbaka fram Melacca tillbringade vi nastan hela
New meets old traditionNew meets old traditionNew meets old tradition

Chinese New Year tree in front of high tech building...nice mix
dagen med att lasa pa infor var resa till Vietnam och Kambodja, och at en sen middag i Little India. Vi vet inte riktigt vad vi at, men bananbladsbrickorna/tallrikarna var kul!

Efter att ha spenderat fyra natter i Si8ngapore kan vi till viss del halla med mannen pa busshallplatsen. Det finns naturligtvis mer att se och gora i Singapore an nagra resor med en sightseeingbuss och att handla, men vi kanner inte att vi maste aka tillbaka alltfor snart. Inte for att det inte ar ett trevilgt stalle, men inte heller fantastiskt. Maten ar i alla fall ganska bra. Det finns sa manga andra intressanta stallen att besoka igen, Chile och Australien till exempel.


Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


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High-rise heaven...High-rise heaven...
High-rise heaven...

Or should it be hell? At least most houses had one interesting shade or another!
Singaporeans are small...Singaporeans are small...
Singaporeans are small...

so small that they fit in paper thin buildings ;-)
The (in)famous Raffles HotelThe (in)famous Raffles Hotel
The (in)famous Raffles Hotel

You have to dress smartly to be let in apparently, so our backpacking uniforms seemed not good enough for a Singapore Sling... Too hot for booze anyway!
Singapore Zoo - OttersSingapore Zoo - Otters
Singapore Zoo - Otters

These cute little things took turns at making somersaults - backwards - or just playing in general.
Singapore Zoo - White TigersSingapore Zoo - White Tigers
Singapore Zoo - White Tigers

Tiny enclosure, and they didn't look too happy in it... Luckily they seem to get along pretty well, which is very important in confined spaces...as we know very well...
Singapore Zoo - BaboonSingapore Zoo - Baboon
Singapore Zoo - Baboon

Not just a pretty face...
Gimme!Gimme!
Gimme!

Feeding time in the baboon enclosure... Banana pieces, yum!
Singapore Zoo - BaboonsSingapore Zoo - Baboons
Singapore Zoo - Baboons

The big one on the left is simply following nature's call, as for the two on the right...
Singapore Zoo - MeerkatSingapore Zoo - Meerkat
Singapore Zoo - Meerkat

This was pretty much the only thing they had that resembled their natural habitat - a bit of vegetation to serve as a lookout post...
Night SafariNight Safari
Night Safari

Real warriors from Borneo apparently... Doesn't really matter where they came from, they still put on a good show!
Night Safari - Fishing CatNight Safari - Fishing Cat
Night Safari - Fishing Cat

This poor guy didn't look quite as unhappy as some of the other animals in the daytime Zoo...
Veggie market Veggie market
Veggie market

in Little India
Little India templeLittle India temple
Little India temple

One of many... Notice any women in the picture?


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