Farewell to Asia

Trip Start Oct 01, 2011
1
10
Trip End Dec 22, 2011


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Flag of Singapore  ,
Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hi everyone,

We have finally come to the last country we will be visiting on our Travels. Steve went to school in Singapore 4 years ago so he is super excited to relive his time here and I am equally as excited to see it for the first time.

Singapore is quite different from the rest of South East Asia. It's clean, tidy, safe, organized, efficient (relative term and by no means all encompassing), and the country as a whole is very much developed (as opposed to other countries which have some developed areas but many poorer undeveloped areas). Most also know of its reputation for being a very "rules" based country which no doubt has lent a hand into many of the above qualities. It has a British colonial history in many ways quite similar to Hong Kong but where it gets interesting is how Singapore split from Malaysia in the 1960's. After the split, Singapore developed on it's own unique path into what most people today recognize as one of the worlds great success stories. 

We arrived late our first day and decided to spend the afternoon exploring the neighborhood that our hostel was in, Little India. Little India as a community is about as far away from "typical Singapore" as you can get but it is vibrant, colorful, cheaper and a great place to stay.

Our second day was spent taking in the classic Singapore downtown highlights; Raffles Hotel, the esplanade, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino, the Merlion, Boat quay and Clarke quay. The best part of all of these attractions is just the beautiful city that connects them all. In the afternoon we made a trip out to the west side of Singapore to NTU, the school Steve attended in 2007. He toured me around his old residence, Canteens (cafeterias), classrooms and beautiful green campus. We even got to relive a few of his favorite campus restaurants including some Chicken cutlet rice, Milo, Iced Coffee, the fruit stand, the "best vegetarian food place ever" and the "go to" Indian Pratha stall. The campus is quite spectacular and I can't help but wonder why we can't have this nice of campuses back home in Canada.

On our third day we started with an early morning trip back to the Marina Bay Sands to get a tour of the new Sky Park. The Marina Bay Sands is Singapore's newest Mega Hotel and architectural marvel with a huge park and infinity pool perched on top of the three towers, 57 stores up, overlooking the Singapore skyline. Tour spots are limited so we had to arrive early. The view up top is unbelievable and the building as a whole is spectacular. It seems that they really have thought of everything and it is probably worth the price tag for 1 night if you are ever there to take in the view from the infinity pool! Next we headed for another one of Steve's hangouts from when he was living in Singapore, the wakeboard cable park. I had gotten Steve a credit for a ride for his birthday and he had a blast reliving his time at the park but pushed him self a bit much in his old age and wasn't functioning too well the next day. We spent the afternoon exploring Singapore's answer to Disney world, Sentosa Island. Sentosa is a completely fabricated island from the waterfalls to the sand on the beach. That being said, they have done an amazing job at creating this resort island / theme park right outside the Singapore city centre and it is a really fun place to explore for a day. 

Today was our official last day of traveling and we decided to treat ourselves to a special farewell diner. Steve had had an amazing Chinese New Year diner with some locals when he was here and he was eager to share the experience again with me. We searched and searched and searched and finally found an all you can eat hot pot hawker that resembled the type Steve remembered. For those that have not had it before, hot pot is a Chinese meal where you get a pot of boiling broths on your table for cooking the raw ingredients. Many hot pot restaurants here are of the all you can eat type meaning they have a buffet of raw ingredients including vegetables, every type of greenery imaginable, dozens of different mushrooms, crab, mussels, clams, shark fin (not for us), prawn, squid, chicken, pork, beef, etc. All this combined with a few big Asia style beers made for a perfect end to the trip!

An Amazing Trip In Recap

The last three months have been amazing and a trip of a lifetime. We have traveled 9 countries (Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma/Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore ), each one giving us countless memories which we will never forget. 

By the time we publish this blog, we will already be back in Ontario for Christmas. We are so excited to visit with family and friends and experience all those "home things" that you miss so much while traveling (pizza, salad, bagels, soft pillows, real coffee, bread that isn't filled with sugar, working out, etc). We will be home for the holidays and then start a new adventure in the new year with a drive across Canada to Canmore, Alberta. 

We hope you all enjoyed the travel updates and can't wait to catch up with everyone over the holidays.

For full Singapore photos, click HERE or copy the following link:
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100116360001647.2422411.122605004&type=1&l=14c2990227 

Steve and Audrey
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