Though Singapore in general was nothing like what I expected, when we visited Chinatown and Little India it was everything I had expected from a trip to Asia. It was buzzy and colourful and there were street stalls piled high. There was even a little bit of litter…which for most of Asia is not really anything to comment on..but for Singapore it was something we had not seen until that point!
When we got off the metro (which..incidentally..was amazing!! Nothing like any metro I have been on. Again it was spotlessly clean, air conditioned and well organised. Despite the crowds there were no jostling or pushing. All trains were driverless and you knew exactly where they were going to stop on the platforms as there was glass to protect you from the tracks with glass doors for you to enter the train, even a queuing system marks on the floor that people actually followed! Being at the front was great because you could look out the window in front…anyways..back to the rest of Singapore…) there was a buzz that there hadn’t been before. We came out right next to a Chinese market with a food court. It was a great atmosphere. We had a walk around and but there wasn’t really loads to do.
We also visited Little India, which had a similar buzzing atmosphere like Chinatown with its market stalls and colour. What I found really nice was that there were two places of worship pretty much next to each other for different faiths (one Chinese and one Hindu) but everyone was welcome in both. I’m not a religious individual but there was a peacefulness that you could not escape.
It’d definitely worth a trip to these two places just for a change of atmosphere and the food if nothing else!
The other thing we did whilst in Singapore was visit the Botanical Gardens – the new ones that you see on all adverts for Singapore. We didn’t spend all day there, but an afternoon/evening. We didn’t pay to go into the big greenhouse domes, but walked around quite a bit of the outside and paid to walk along the treetop walkway. I’m not normally one for gardens, but it was nice to see a different array of flora and get a slightly different view over the bay. We stayed for the light show in the evening, which again was very good. I mean, a light show is a light show so after the first 5/10 mins I was just enjoying the atmosphere rather than admiring the lights! They played a whole medley of music from across the world – some vaguely recognisable to me..some not at all. But it was a nice thing to do…I would recommend lying on the floor and looking up, rather than standing for the show if you do go!
One evening we went to the famous hotel, Raffles, to go to the Long Bar to have a Singapore Sling cocktail. It turns out, the concoction didn’t seem all that appetising but is something that one “ought” to try. Unfortunately, I am allergic to pineapple (violins please) which is a key component of the cocktail so I didn’t actually try one…but I had an apple variation which I imagine was much nicer…my drinking buddies (my parents and their friends) seemed to think so too!
Two of the big touristy things that we didn’t do were go up the Marina Sands hotel or visit Sentosa Island. It cost something like $15 (Singapore Dollars) to go up and then cocktails were as expected expensive..so instead we met some family we have in Singapore at a club/bar across the bay and enjoyed the view of the Marina Sands Hotel! It was a lovely atmosphere and we got to see the hotel’s light show. We opted not to visit Sentosa Island because we’d done a it of research and it was apparently quite expensive, very touristy and a bit like Disney/Universal Studios..so we gave it a miss.
Writing this blog I’ve realised that we did way more in Singapore than I really comprehended at the time! So..the Formula 1 will have to wait for another post..just so you don’t have to read a massively long one this time. This mini-series of post isn’t as ordered and neat as my other ones..it isn’t even in the order we did it..I just started writing and realised I had a lot more to say than I thought!