We had to come to Singapore, as it is a hub for onward flights to our next destinations, however I'm glad we did because it is a fascinating city. It is a city of contrasts –areas like Little India & Chinatown are almost like 3rd world countries, but in areas like Orchard Road it looks like 5th Avenue, New York. We stayed in Little India.
Its funny how the Chinatown in every large city looks (and smells) the same. There are temples, stalls selling funny looking vegetables & oriental pharmacies selling dried bits, cut from endangered animals.
The Temples & Mosques in Singapore are beautiful & were generally packed out.
You can eat very cheaply in Singapore, we often had lunch for a few dollars from little, spotlessly clean, roadside stalls. There are many food courts selling ethnic foods to eat there or take away, you have to be careful not to eat or drink on the public transport though – there is an on-the-spot fine of $500.
Singapore has been described as a "Fine City" - $500 fine for littering, $500 fine for spitting, and $1,000 fine for urinating in the streets.
We had to have a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel – as you do. Two drinks cost as much as a night at our hotel. There was a bonus however, they provided free peanuts & you were encouraged to drop the shells on the floor. For the cost of two nights in our hotel, you could take “afternoon tea” in the Tiffin Room.
We went for a cruise on a genuine (?) replica of the Chinese Imperial Junk that Admiral Cheng Ho (Zheng He) sailed on in 1405, to discover new lands. Some say he reached America before Columbus & even discovered the World Wide Web before Tim Berners-Lee. We cruised out past Sentosa Island where they pointed out the sights like the biggest oil refinery in the east & the world’s busiest container port. We threaded our way through the hundreds of container ships waiting to dock before being dropped off for half an hour on the pleasant little Island of Kusu.
On another day we took our buckets & spades for a day trip to Sentosa Island. There is a cable car that runs from the 15 floor of the mainland HarbourFront Tower to the middle of the island – just like a ski lift. You get a good view of the docks, the island & the massive development that is going on there.
The whole island is one big resort with attractions like the Underwater World Oceanarium (!), Dolphin Lagoon, Sky Tower, Butterfly Park etc, etc. All public transport is free & trams go to all the beaches where you can lay on the imported sand & have an unimpaired view, through the palm trees, of the oil tankers moored just offshore. You can also visit the WW II gun emplacements that were constructed along the south coast to repel the Japanese. They were totally useless as the cunning Japanese came overland via Malaya.
Clarke Quay & Boat Quay are the hip places to eat, Clarke Quay is like Darling Harbour in Sydney with new shopping/eating malls & waterfront restaurants. Boat Quay has a long strip of oriental restaurants where you have to run the gauntlet of waiters badgering you with special offers. On the other side of the river there is the G-Max Reverse Bungee ride where they strap you into a cage & fire you like a catapult into the air – the screams go on for about 5 minutes. The Kiwis have a lot to answer for.