Sweet Singapore

Trip Start Jul 09, 2013
1
26
30
Trip End Feb 15, 2014


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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

So we arrived in Singapore after an 11 hour budget flight with no entertainment or food included. We thought we would start out time back in Asia being adventurous with food so went for a traditional Singaporean breakfast on our first morning. This consisted of toast with Kaya butter, a very sweet coconut flavoured butter served with two half-boiled (very runny) eggs. This is washed down with a cup of tea or coffee which must contain about ten sugars as it is so sweet! It is actually quite a nice breakfast and Mike certainly enjoyed it with his sweet tooth. 

We ate our breakfast in the Marina Bay Sands shopping mall and couldn’t help but notice there were very few other people around because it was the first day of Chinese New Year. 75% of the Singapore population are Chinese so Chinese New Year is obviously the biggest celebration of the year here. While we walked around exploring the city we noticed a few Chinese street celebrations with two people dressed as a dragon dancing to drums; these performances were really good and we stopped to watch a few of them. In addition there are lots of Chinese lanterns and other decorations scattered around the city, many of these decorations feature horses as it is the Year of the Horse. 

To celebrate the New Year we decided to have lunch at a Chinese Michelin Star restaurant; we had a variety of Dim Sum dishes which all tasted fantastic and it is probably the best Chinese we have ever had. When we first saw the menu we were a little put off due to our previous experiences in China, but we have definitely noticed that if you pay more for food it tastes a lot better! 

In the evening we ventured out to Chinatown half expecting it to be closed because some businesses had closed for a few days over the main New Year period; in fact it was exactly how we expected Chinese New Year to be – packed full of people! In Chinatown we had a browse round the market and were planning to eat at a cheap hawker place, but given our comment above decided to eat at a lovely Japanese restaurant instead (probably for the best). Hawker places are cheap food courts and there are lots of these in Singapore so we did eat at one during our trip. 

Throughout our time in Singapore we stayed in the Little India area, we enjoyed exploring this area and like everywhere else in Asia it got very busy at night. For breakfast one morning we had a naan bread/egg omelette thing with curry sauce. Hopefully this is preparing us for visiting India later on in the trip. 

Moving away from the topic of food we should mention there are lots of shopping malls in Singapore. Many of these shopping malls link together by underground passageways so you can spend most of the day wondering around without going outside into the 30 degree heat. 

As well as shops there are also lots of nice bars along the waterfront. Instead of going to these, one evening we decided to go to ‘Altitude’ which is an open-air bar on the 63rd floor. Entry for this bar was $25 but included a free drink so of course we had to have the famous Singapore Sling! This drink was originally invented just down the road in the Raffles Hotel and one afternoon we made sure to have a look round this incredibly posh hotel. The drinks here are a rip-off and you don’t even get a view over the city! From the roof of ‘Altitude’ you get a great view of the Marina Bay Sands – this is a very distinctive building made up of three towers famous for having a boat on top. 

Around the main harbour area in the city there is a light show which occurs every evening; this is basically some lasers shining off the Marina Bay Sands and it unfortunately was really not very good. We also watched an evening show at the ‘Fountain of Wealth’, this consisted of colourful dancing fountains. 

We decided to splash out and go to Universal Studios for the day; we knew that it would be very busy because of the Chinese holiday but actually we were quite surprised as the queues were not too long. Unfortunately there are not as many rides here as in the Florida parks, and we did find ourselves riding ‘Return of the Mummy’ four times as we had run out of things to do. 

We have noticed in Singapore that there is huge gap between the rich and the poor. Lots of the shopping centres have very posh designer shops and the city centre is very clean and modern; but once you get out into the suburbs it definitely looks more like Asia. Having spent some time in Asia before we have gotten used to walking round the poorer areas and the one good thing about Singapore is that you do not get harassed to buy things!
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