Chinatown

Trip Start Feb 01, 2006
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Trip End Jun 04, 2007


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Flag of Singapore  ,
Saturday, February 4, 2006

This morning I hopped on the Singapore 'tube', or MRT (Mass rapid transport) as it's called here for the few stops to Chinatown. The MRT is really efficient, cheap, and most importantly air-conditioned. It costs less than 50p to get anywhere on the network. And if you buy an EZ-link card (works the same as an oyster card) from the passenger service counter, you also get a discount on the fares. It costs $15, $5 of which is non-refundable, $3 is a refundable deposit and $7 is credit to travel with. It does save time buying tickets and making sure you have the right change.
When I got to Chinatown I had a little wander through some of the shops and market places before heading out to Sri Mariamman temple. It was free to get into the temple, with a $3 donation to take photos, or $6 for video cameras. The statues and paintings on the ceiling inside were absolutely beautiful.
I then made my way to the Thian Hock Keng Temple, which was about a 5-10 minute walk away.
The temple is one of the oldest Chinese temples in Singapore. However every few minutes a coachload of people would empty into the temple. So there was lot of people going in and out. For more info on the temple see http://www.frommers.com/destinations/singapore/A23773.html

I strolled through Telok Ayer Green, which was a small park next door to the temple, and rested there for a while.I then headed on to the Sri Vanaygar Hindu temple, which was also very pretty, and quite a bit smaller than the Sri Mariamman temple. There was a service going on, so I couldn't't look inside.

In the late afternoon I made my way on the MRT to look at the Merlion, which took me a little while to find. On the way I walked through some of the Chinese new year celebrations along the river side. The Merlion represents Singapore's beginning as a fishing village.

For more info on the Merlion see www.visitsingapore.com/publish/stbportal/en/home/about_singapore/the_merlion/history_and_origins.html

As I made my way along Orchard Road back to the hotel, the Chinese New year parade was just getting started. I saw a few of the floats but didn't't fancy standing around, so I headed back to the hotel. When I got back to the room, The parade was on TV anyway so I watched some of it from the comfort of my room.
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