24 hours in Singapore...

Trip Start Sep 19, 2009
Trip End May 19, 2010

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Sunday, April 4, 2010

We had a day flight from Melbourne to Singapore, leaving at 3.30pm, taking just over 7 hours and landing around 9pm local time. So this was down as a day to play games and watch as many films as we could on our seatback TVs, rather than worry that we should be sleeping, perfect! A cheap taxi ride later we arrived at our 3* hotel, which looked more like 5* to me, with bell boys carrying our bags for us! We were also lucky enough to get an upgrade, so we had a huge room! Happy days! We ordered up some chicken satay for a snack (having eaten very well on the plane) then it was off to sleep, ready for a busy day of sightseeing tomorrow.

The next morning, we caught the hotel's shuttle bus into town and, a bit shocked by the heat, headed straight to find somewhere for breakie. It seems muffins are a popular morning feed here, so I just had to try one, delicious! We then headed down Orchard Road, to check out the many shopping malls. I remember there being a lot when I was last here a decade ago but now there are an uncountable number; each one is huge with 3 or 4 floors of shops, incredible. We stopped off in a few, partly to soak up the air-con but also to browse. After a couple of hours, we found ourselves at the end of the Road, snacking on 'special price’ Dim Sum dumplings in Raffles of all places... Feeling very smug at the bargainous lunch we had just eaten in such a prestigious place, we were shocked to find the bill was a lot more than we expected. On closer inspection, it seems we had just drunk the most expensive diet cokes of our lives! Ach well, before heading on our way, we had a good look round the old hotel, deciding we would be back for drinks later.

Our next stop was the Docklands Area. It seemed a lot of it was still being built, one strange building had what looked like a boat surrounded by palm trees on top of 3 high story buildings. very strange! We made our way back to Orchard Road via the Old Singapore Cricket Club Pavillion, and the landmark Armenian Church. Having then braved some rain (apparently a daily afternoon occurence here) and the full length of the road on foot again, we caught the shuttle bus back to the hotel for a wee rest and an escape from the heat!

In the evening, we taxied it to the Long Bar in Raffles for our expensive but scrummy Singapore Sling, accompanied by far too many monkey nuts. We had fun discarding the shells onto the floor, as is customary in this particular establishment, and even more fun walking over them all on our way out - listening to the crunching noise as we walked over them, no quiet escape! We then walked down to the Boat Quay, on the recommendation of our hotel’s concierge. They had said there were plenty of restaurants along here, and boy they were not wrong. Walking along the riverside there must have been more than 20 restaurants all with what looked like exactly the same menus and the same prices, although with different staff pestering us to dine in their particular seats... We ended up going for the fullest restaurant, and then waiting ages to be served! Fortunately, we were very happy with our noodle and rice dishes, so it was a good choice in the end! We ended the night by walking over to Clarke Quay, which also had a good few restaurants, although this area was much more geared towards tourists and nightlife – lined with some really cool looking bars. However, being quite tired from our busy day, we were pleased we had opted for the quieter of the Quays for our dinner.

So we had had 24 hours in Singapore, and we had only really seen Orchard Road. However, it is one helluva road... What really struck us was how clean and organised the city is, and just how much there is on offer there! We really enjoyed it, and hope to be back again one day. On our taxi ride to the airport we had a very interesting driver, telling us all his stories of when he worked at the Singapore Shangri-La (once the best hotel in the world), meeting Maggie Thatcher, and surprising Elton John with balloons on his birthday...  great stuff!
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