Singapore, once referred to as a little red dot by a former president of Indonesia, is now a buzzing city with a lot to do! What was meant as an insult was seen by Singaporeans as a cute and affectionate name, so they adopted it. We packed our 36 waking hours in the little red dot with just a few of the activities available and we didn’t even touch on the shopping!
Crossing the border from Malaysia was easy, the air conditioned immigration terminals were a marked change from our previous SEA crossings. Once through and after narrowly avoiding being recruited to a Buddhist cult and declining their invite to a chanting ceremony we made our way to Little India to find our hostel.
Little India is kind of like India, it is probably how my brain likes to picture India. It is clean, smells of delicious food waft out of the busy restaurants and there is no crap in the road. It is all a bit odd and is certainly a contrast from the culture shock we felt when we arrived in Varanasi.
The only cows in Little India:
Our first day in Singapore was spent exploring on foot, despite the lovely air conditioning and ridiculously frequent underground network we chose to take a walking tour with INDIE Singapore. Wei our guide was informative and funny, he led us around the river from Raffles Place to the Marina Bay area. He managed to cover a few hundred years of history into just 3 hours covering the transformation from small fishing village up to huge bustling modern city. We got to see some of the oldest buildings in the city, discovered why one side of the river is a lot more popular than the other for businesses and were introduced to the artistic side of this city.
Wei our guide:
(previously considered to be a bit of a skyscraper when Singapore was a lot shorter):
In the evening we chose the cheapest view point in the city and visited the Pinnacle @ Duxton. This public housing complex is composed of 7 huge (50 stories) towers all linked together by a sky bridge at the top. For only SG$5 you can access this between 9am and 9pm.
Day two maintained our hectic but still able to fit in a nap pace. We went off to the Singapore Zoo. This is one of the major attractions in the city and it appeared as if all the children under 5 had decided to go on the same day. Despite the crowds we enjoyed ourselves. I particularly enjoyed seeing all the tortoises, they all had quite large enclosures and seemed happy wandering around. I wasn’t so sure about the polar bear, apparently he has an freezing cold enclosure but he chooses to sit outside and sweat sometimes.
From giant tortoises ones to little ones:
In a bid to try and find some cheaper activities in this quite expensive city I found out that each Friday the observatory at the Science Centre opens up to the public and you can use a whole range of telescopes. We were lucky to arrive quite early (doors open at 7:45) cause despite it being a bit busy there were no clouds. We got to look at Saturn through their massive telescope, it was awesome and i’m not even a space geek like Pinion.
Pinion outside the Science Centre and a Lego flag:
Our last day in Singapore was once again pretty busy. We went to the Art and Science museum, in the Marina Bay, and went to an exhibit about the Deep Sea. Pinion was disappointed to find out the fish weren’t actually alive but judging by the looks of them I think we were lucky. The exhibition was good but probably not the best for two people who are booked in for their Advanced Open Water dive course in 2 days time.
Just two of the reasons I don’t want to go back into the sea:
After wandering around the fancy mall at Marina Bay we set off to see whether we would be let into the Flight bar. The bar is situated on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. Turns out that they thought we scrubbed up well enough and let us in. In truth I don’t think they are actually that fussy, but it was nice to step out of our usual clothes. I even attempted to straighten my hair (yes we’ve carried straighteners for 8 months and not used them), it didn’t like the humidity and so I reverted to my usual pineapple style.
Two out of three Marina Bay Sands towers:
If you don’t want a drink you can go up to the observation deck on the top of tower 3, however the entrance of SG$23 is the same price as a mojito in the Flight bar (excluding taxes) and the beer is even cheaper. We had a Singapore Sling here, skipping the traditional ones at Raffles cause despite originating at the Long bar there they are now apparently pre-mixed.
That was the end of our time in Singapore, it can be really expensive (especially if you like a drink) but there are a few cheaper activities to seek out. There is so much art work around the quays and there are lots of free shows on down at the Esplanade. The city is gearing up for the Formula 1 in a couple of weeks, gutted we missed that one. Always good to have a reason to come back!
Oh and the airport had a butterfly park inside it!