The Merlion and cheap taxis

Trip Start Mar 11, 2006
Trip End Apr 18, 2006

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

12/02 - Ben

Hey - we're here in Sinagpore and it is very hot. Much hotter than we're used to, leaving Dunedin yesterday it was 6'C and 33'C when we landed last night. Looks as though it might get quite hot today as it is a very clear sky. Last night it was cloudy and raining!

The place we are staying is quite good, and the air con is just as good (it's default is 26'C! - we wound it down to 18'C for the night. The hotel is called the hangout hotel and is pretty close to the central city (near Orchard Road and Chinatown). Free internet on a bunch of PCs and have just signed up for free wireless around the town. Taxi was cheap to get here - only S$18 for a 30 minute ride. Exchange rate is just about 1:1 with the NZ dollar so good value. Flight from NZ was OK, would probably rate Singapore Air higher than our Air NZ flight. Singapore give you a bit more food and hot towels, AirNZ seems a bit more budget.

Planning on doing some shopping today, and having a general look around. This is, of course after breakfast - we are both very hungrey. Just about 8AM here but 1PM in NZ and we haven't eaten! More later - Ben

Did the shopping, it was a long day and we have both sore feet! Started by walking down to Sim Lim Tower (mall). It wasn't open so continued to browse the area. Managed to see a couple of temples around Bencoolen Street/Link. There was a wedding on at the Sri Krishnan Hindu Temple. Had a browse through the Bugis Village and were amazed at the variety and types of food on display. Raw fish, laksa, veges, soups, fish balls and many other Singaporean delights.

Jumped on a hop-on hop-off style bus for the bargain price of S$5 for both of us. The bus was run by the local bus company (SMRT). We toured around the town and our first stop was Raffles hotel for a singapore sling. The hotel is amazing and suprisingly big. You can really see how it was back in the day of Sir Raffles. It would be a most excellent place to stay, if one could afford the it.

Spent ALL day at the zoo. It was huge! We saw so many different animals and went to a separate night-zoo too! There were lemurs, white tigers, jaguars, snakes, spiders, butterflys, rhinos (that were fighting) and lots more! Hundreds of animal breeds and I'd say thousands of animals. Would highly recommend the Zoo and suggest a whole day to see the whole thing. We arrived about 11AM and spend the whole day (until 8:30PM) cruising around checking it out.

Very hot again - up to 35'C I'd say. We are both sweaty and sticky, still about 32/33'C outside and is 9:30PM and dark. The weather, mainly temperature doesn't seem to change much.

Caught the SE MRT to the harbourfront and walked along to the cable-car which took us to Sentosa Island. We spent about an hour around the Merlion, which is a tribute to Singapore and it's past. Singapore means lion city, so the lion is for the new Singapore and the Mer part is for the City's roots. There was a large waterfall attached to the lion monument, both were very large. The plants that literally cover the island were great. Wonderful large leaf'd bushes and flowering plants. The beaches on the south side of the island are very nice. They've got a few restaurants and bars scattered along the waterfront - including a 7/11. Oh... another point - the red, blue and buses on the island are FREE. So you can travel around the island without wearing your feet out, we discovered this late... Travelled back to Singapore city on the cable-car, past our hop-on spot and back up to Mount Faber (which was boring). Back down to the Harbourfront centre for a bit of shopping. I grabbed a Singapore t-shirt but nothing else. The centre/mall was quite upmarket and nice. Grabbed a taxi outside and went over to the Sigapore Botanic Gardens. Taxis are sooo cheap here! We travelled for about 20 minutes and it was S$6! Yesterday the taxi from the zoo to the Hangout Hotel was only $12 and took about 40 minutes. The same trips would cost about $25/$50 respectively, in Dunedin. Anyway, I digress - The botanic Gardens were great (is you love plants). We made it a short stay and taxied back down to Orchard road. Had a browse around the Sinapura mall? - it's HUGE. We were looking around the basement floors (x2) and thinking that it was large. Then we came upstairs and saw the other 7 levels! Didn't get to see the whole thing but managed to pick up some dinner which turned out to be nice. I can't remember the Japanese name but it was an omlette pocket filled with, in my case, fried rice, chicken, ham and cheese. It was very nice, Trudie had noodles instead of rice. This was one of our better meals and cheap too - S$4 for Trudes and S$5 for mine, bargain.

Well - time to go. Got to sort out how to get to Melaka tomorrow. Wish us luck!

20/11/05 Just booked in some accommodation. Hangout - located in central Singapore.

* The InnCrowd Hostel +Travel info
* Singapore Hotel Search

Singapore is tropically hot all year round (it's near enough to the Equator - what do you expect!), with the average daily maximum of 31C. Brief rainstorms are common November to January.

Singapore offers an unforgettable shopping experience in a convenient and comfortable environment. A highlight of the shopping calendar is the Great Singapore Sale (June\July), a world-class event not to be missed.

Shopping in Singapore is awesome and can be found along the busy shopping belt stretching from Orchard Road to Marina Bay.

There are many speciality shops housed in restored historical buildings in Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam and other ethnic locations across the island.

A good many stores and even some smaller shops are open daily from 10.00am to about 9.00pm or even 10.00pm.

Almost all stores accept major international credit and charge cards Should you come across a shop insisting on adding a surcharge, do contact the local office of the card company so that corrective action can be taken.

Excellent bus services complement the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), one of the world's most modern and efficient rail systems. Trains arrive every few minutes and run from 6am - midnight. Prices range from S$0.70 to S$1.60. The MRT stations along the Orchard Road shopping belt are Orchard, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut. The City Hall Station is located just beneath the Raffles City Shopping Centre.

The island's plentiful air-conditioned taxis are metered, so you can be sure of standardised rates whichever taxi you hop in.

Singapore zoo is an open concept zoo. Animals are kept in spacious enclosures and seperated from the pulic, where possible, with wet or dry moats.
Sentosa island is Singapore's premier island getaway. Featuring a number of fun-park type attractions, beaches, nature and shopping it has something for everyone.
Jurong Birdpark is in the Jurong town and contains over 9000 birds over the 20.2 hectare open-concept park.
Why not call into Raffles Hotel for a Singapore Sling. Originally opened in 1887 and restored and re-opened in 1991.
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