Singapore 2011





Stuart's kind offer of three days in Singapore was tempting. How does one pack in lots of sights if one doesn't know the place. Rather than rush around like a mad tourist, I decided to go with the flow and get the most out of what was in front of me.

Return flights for two from Kuala Lumpur were about 120 on Air Asia. Seems cheap, but beware when booking on their website because there are a lot of irritating double negatives on the 'optional' extras like insurance and baggage. Singapore is quite expensive place to visit, so book hotels and check where to dine with care. Three beers at a backpacker pub typically costs S$35, or 18, and groceries are frequently twice the price of KL. Electronics can be cheap, but the real bargains are not to be found at the airport duty free.



02 Feb 2011: The first stop was the Cactus Garden on the roof of Changi Airport. I know travellers want to get on their way, but this was a pleasant break before jumping into the taxi. Although not very big, it is a proper garden with all the species marked.
Click to open

The drivers in Singapore are a lot better than in KL, more lane discipline and they don't shove in expecting you to yield. Catch the tube if you can because one avoids the traffic, is quite painless to buy a ticket and a lot cheaper. We checked into a boutique hotel in Little India; good, clean and rooms small but comfortable.

That evening we went to my host's family dinner. It was Chinese New Year's eve, and the venue was the Big Eater in Simei near the airport. This place specialises in Chinese seafood, and walls were literally covered with crab shells that had been painted by diners.
Click to open

03 Feb 2011: A view of Little India early in the morning. This area is described as being vibrant and having an active night life in the brochures. Actually there are lots of backpackers and poor labourers on the busy streets till well after midnight and the novelty soon wears off. Maybe I'm getting old, but I don't see poverty and neglect as quaint anymore. The somewhat run down colonial architecture and shuttered windows were interesting however.
Click to open

As it was Chinese New Year, there were a lot of street shrines with oranges, incense and other goodies. The mandarin oranges are given away for good luck to the giver and receiver. The word 'kam' means both gold and mandarin orange, and hence a link with prosperity. And try buying these oranges at the last moment at a convenience store before going to visit someone and you'll see another far more tangible link to gold.
Click to open

The Sultan Mosque in the Little Arabia district, part of Kampong Glam. A Kampong is a village, but these have now been assimilated into one big city. Lots of cafes and tourist things, but interesting nevertheless.
Click to open

Stuart and Chomaine getting some Chinese medicine for a cold. I missed photographing a very animated poodle standing on the shelf behind me because I was worried it was going to launch itself off in its excitement.
Click to open

A street market was set up near the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple in the Bugis district. The architecture is colonial interspersed with modern - quite a bit different to Kuala Lumpur where they appear to have torn down most the old buildings to build new. The old guy was playing a violin type instrument near the temple.
Click to open Click to open
Click to open

04 Feb 2011: Finally it was a bucket of seafood at Clark Quay, [i]gwai lo[/i] central. Some regard this as a derogatory term, using the more polite [i]sai yan[/i], but its roots and intent are not really that bad. I was having a good meal, so not arty night shots on a tripod here.
Click to open





Gallery pages show full size images that have been scaled down, so pages with many images may take a while to open. Please click on the images to open them to full size in another window. Pages are updated, so if you have have not visited them for a while then please refresh them - right-click on the page and select Refresh, or press Control-F5.

Patrick Onions - all images and content are copyright and all rights are reserved.