A Travellerspoint blog

Singapore swing

Short but sweet

sunny 30 °C
View Just a big holiday on ClareAndTom's travel map.

En route to Heathrow we sighted Alan Whicker in the pub, which we felt could only bode well for our travels. So far, so good: we had an easy flight during which we both slept for a surprisingly long time, breezed through immigration and found our hostel in Chinatown with only a couple of navigational errors from Tom.

It was early evening and we'd read that the Asian Civilizations Museum was both interesting and free on a Friday night (it's also interesting at other times, apparently). An hour or so there was enough for us, as the aircon was a bit too effective and dinner was calling. We happen to be staying above the main street market in Chinatown, so returned there to eat.

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On Saturday we thought we'd properly explore the city, despite the heat and humidity. We wandered up to the various quays that line the river, which once were bustling with trading boats, but are now lined with somewhat bland bars and restaurants. We succumbed to the tourist cliché that is having a Singapore Sling in Raffles, and enjoyed throwing peanuts on the floor.

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Refreshed, we strolled through Fort Canning Park, which was a real contrast to the city: almost deserted, with large jungle trees and filled with the sound of cicadas. Immediately after leaving this oasis we found ourselves at the start of the enormous shopping strip that is Orchard Road, filled with large malls and expensive designer shops. After lunch we chanced the bus network to get to the Botanic Gardens, and then back to Chinatown.

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Dinner tonight was at Little India, across the city and bustling with street stalls. After wandering through the side streets, and numerous invitations into restaurants, we ate our best meal yet in Singapore in the hawker centre.

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We had several options for activities on Sunday, all taking us out of the city. In the end we chose to visit Palau Ubin, an undeveloped island between Singapore and Malaysia, which also seemed a popular choice for many Singaporeans. After a journey involving tube, bus and "bumboat", we arrived and rented bikes of dubious quality to explore the island. Mangrove swamps surround the island, and a walkway and observation tower allow you a good view of these. The interior is covered with rainforest, and home to a surprising number of animals. We saw wild boar, monkeys and a hornbill as we cycled around.

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Returning home, we popped into the large and ornate Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, which is just around the corner from our hostel. It was full of opportunities to sponsor tiles, statues, and possibly even a whole monk. The orchid garden on the roof was a peaceful contrast to all the gold and bright lighting in the building below. After dinner at the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, we sampled a durian crepe: this was not a pleasant experience. In an attempt to get the rather rotten taste out of our mouths, we bought some sweets that we'd had our eyes on for a couple of days: edible, at least, but still not great. We hope to find better sweet treats in our next destination, Melaka.

Posted by ClareAndTom 07:39 Archived in Singapore Tagged singapore

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Comments

Great to hear you got to Singapore ok, sounds like you are having a brilliant time already. Palau Ubin was one of our favourites in Singapore, awesome fun - felt like jurassic park!
I look forward to your next blog entry - take care - H xxx

by Hannah Vincent

Very interested in your visit to Singapore. Sounds like you have found all the interesting places. Glad the trip has started well and hope it continues to go well.
Matt

by Matt Vincent

Dude. What a cool thing you 2 are doing, I'm feeling that wanderlust reading your blog. Alas, I'm in the middle of making a timberframe barn and a week in Normandy is going to be my lot! I hope can keep up the blog, probably fall by the wayside when you both get hospitalised with yellow fever or something!!! Bit dark, but could happen.
Keep it up. Tim

by Tim Lambert

Oh great! Here comes 8 months of quick wit and snazzy photos for me to enjoy from the confines of my small office cubicle.
Jealousy aside, have an awesome trip, be dangerous, and live to remember it

by Giles Sims Poshboy

The blog & pictures are looking fabulous and I'm looking forward to keeping up-to-date with your humour over the next 8 months. Enjoy! x

by Lisa Harmsworth

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