It's all under one roof here in Singapore!

Trip Start Apr 30, 2011
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55
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Trip End Dec 08, 2011


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Where I stayed
Zenobia Hotel

Flag of Singapore  ,
Friday, October 7, 2011

We almost didn't make it to Singapore!! 

 We had been told when we checked in at Cairns, that we only had an hour to make our connection in Sydney, but that we should be fine. When we landed, we were aware we were already running a bit behind schedule, so were eager to get of the plane as quickly as possible. We spotted the signs for our terminal and started running through the airport! We showed our boarding passes and headed down into a room where we would wait for a bus to take us to the International Terminal. Typically, a bus pulled away just as we approached, so we had another 10 minutes to wait for the next one. However, 20 minutes later, we were still waiting in this same room, and the screens around us were telling us that our flight had been boarding for the last 15 minutes. We had been told it would take at least 10 minutes to get to the International Terminal, and at this point we had about 25 minutes before our flight left! Panic started setting in, because even once we got to the other terminal, we still had to clear customs and security and then find our gate. We headed back up to the concourse where we explained our predicament to a member of Qantas staff. Luckily she gave us an Express Pass which would hopefully allow us through customs and security really quickly.

 We were finally on a bus and heading to the other terminal. Once there we had to break into a run again, but were slightly less worried because we had these passes to hand! We got through with no problems, and reached our gate as the final calls were being made. We breathed a sigh of relief as we boarded the biggest plane we have seen in our lives!! It was an Airbus A380, and the plane just went on forever! We finally made it to our seats (economy, right at the back!) and realised how empty the plane was. Seeing as our plane had the capacity to carry 450 passengers, this was hardly surprising! So Chris quickly got up to ask one of the air crew if we could swap seats.She said that once we were in the air, we could move within economy where ever we wanted. So we headed to the exit row seats as most of them were empty. These seats have masses of leg room, which is why when we checked in we asked if we could have them. However, we were told that for the privilege of having this extra leg room, each seat costs an additional $100. So that would be a no then!! But now we found ourselves in these coveted seats, in our own row. And no matter how hard we tried to stretch our legs out, we still couldn't reach the partition in front of us! Pure bliss!! The 7 hour flight was amazing, and we wished only all our flights could be like this! We didn't really even want to get off the plane! We had lots of cushions and blankets. We were fed twice, had constant drinks and fruit and ice cream brought round. And rather than just having a t.v screen in the seat in front, ours pulled out from the side of our seat. It was all very fancy and we were like kids in a sweet shop! We couldn't even begin to imagine what business and first class were like! 

Once we had landed and collected our belongings, we headed off in search of the taxi stand. It was about 11pm by now, so the shuttle services were few and far between. The minute we got away from the airport, we fell in love with Singapore, and knew we were going to have a great time here. Even though it was dark, the city looked amazing!  There were so many different designs of buildings that had all been lit up in various ways. And the city was buzzing with people, despite it being quite late. It took much longer than we thought to get to Little India, and when we finally did get there, it was absolutely heaving, and the taxi struggled to even make it through the roads. The main road running through Little India, Serangoon Road, was decorated with hundreds of lights running all the way down the street. The switch on ceremony had been that night, which explained the throngs of people. The reason for all the decorations was Deepvali, which would be celebrated on the 26th October. 

We reached our hotel and were greeted by a friendly chap at reception. He showed us to our room which was like a little prison cell! No window and barely big enough for our backpacks! But we were too tired to care at this point and went straight to sleep.

Our first few days were spent roaming the different city districts. We were quite centrally located in Little India, and we also had a MRT station (Metro) nearby. This meant that it was really easy for us to get around. Each journey just cost us more or less $2, with a $1 refund for returning your ticket, which also meant it was quite affordable. We explored the Arab Quarter, and a famous street called Arab Street where there was a huge Mosque, lots of silk suit shops, lots of restaurants selling kebabs and falafels. It had a very Arabian feel, especially with all the people sitting outside cafes smoking shishas. We also headed to Chinatown with its many temples and bright red lanterns strung across the streets. Clarke Quay was very modern and full of expensive riverside bars and restaurants. We also went to Singapore's version of Oxford Street, which was full of hundreds of unaffordable shops for backpackers! I.e Prada, Louis, Gucci and many more!

The weather in Singapore was really hot and stuffy. We also had a few downpours, but they tend not to last for too long. We decided a couple of days into our visit that we would spend a little longer here than planned, as we liked it here so much. But it meant we had to stay in our dark and insect ridden hotel for longer than planned! Though all we tended to do was sleep there. As Singapore was so lively and buzzing, it meant we could stay out late into the evening, as many shops and restaurants would still be open. We ended up changing rooms 3 times over the course of our 6 day stay in the hotel due to reservation issues. But on our last 2 nights we were even privileged enough to find ourselves with a window.......in the bathroom! But we got what we paid for, and it was clean and the staff were very friendly. 

Two of the days, we ended up going back to the famous shopping street. Just for window shopping of course. But both times, we came away with new SLR cameras and accessories. Not sure how that happened?!? In our defence however, Singapore is known for having much cheaper electrical items, and what we bought would have set us back much further had we bought them in the UK. You just need to be careful that what you buy is genuine! There are thousands of fake goods from iPods, cameras, laptops. We were vigilant and checked on Canon's website that we were buying from an authorised re-seller.  

All in all Singapore is an absolute must. There are so many different cultures, religions and nationalities here. There are seemingly undisturbed parts of the city that have been there for years, but then also new and impressive buildings that can be seen from anywhere in the city. Singapore also has the highest concentration of shopping malls we have ever seen! 

We would definitely love to come back here one day and is one of our top cities that we have been to on our travels!

Blondie and Beardy. 
 
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