Singapore - Civilisation and Sue

Trip Start Aug 03, 2004
1
7
11
Trip End Jan 27, 2005


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Saturday, November 27, 2004

After a week in the sun in Bali we were looking forward to Singapore but didn't know what to expect. Fortunately Sue (Mary's friend from University) lives and works in Singapore and offered us a bed at her place. Sue became our personal guide and showed us the sights of Singapore.

Naturally, a Singapore Sling at Raffles was first on the agenda. Although they are expensive they are definitely worth every penny, if only for the experience and the free peanuts. We also went to Chinatown, which was great, looking round the shops and market stalls and having our first experience with chopsticks. Then to Little India which was like being instantly transported to the sub-continent - very busy and colourful and we were the only westerners in sight.

In the evening we went on a Night Safari, which was good but wasn't as good as we'd expected after hearing from a few other people who've been and told us about it. After visiting a number of zoos already on our trip the novelty had begun to wear off. We also took a cable car to Mount Faber to admire the views of Singapore, and then across to Sentosa Island. The cable car is not for anyone afraid of heights as it is a long way down. As we were short of time we took the monorail around Sentosa, just to give us a quick view of what the island has to offer. It looked like a fun place to spend a day on the beach or at the various attractions.

Whilst in Singapore we had a range of food, some western, some not. It is quite easy to go for the 'safe' option of western food but you pay a higher price and you don't get the feel of local life. Therefore, we ate noodles, spring rolls and prata (like naan bread, but made from eggs and served with vegetable curry, it is really nice.) One evening Sue took us to a hawker centre to try the local food and also to show us how the locals go about buying and eating their meals. Hopefully the experience should stand us in good stead for the rest of South East Asia. Amongst the more upmarket places we ate whilst in Singapore were CHIJMES and Boat Quay. We had a nice meal at CHIJMES which is a former church converted into a complex of restaurants and bars. Boat Quay is very touristy but the curry house we ate at by the waters edge served great food.

The Hippo bus tour is a great way to see the major sights in Singapore, and we went on both the Heritage (old buildings) and the city (botanic gardens and Orchard Road) loops. We stayed on the bus but you can hop on and off. Orchard Road is famed for its shopping malls which are numerous and huge - you would have to be there for years before you could remember which shops are in each mall. The Christmas lights along Orchard Road were fantastic.

Singapore is great, it is clean, has friendly people and has lots to see and do. It is definitely worth a visit. We said goodbye to Sue, her flat, comfy bed, clean fluffy towels, washer and civilisation and headed to Kuala Lumpur to see what that had in store.
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