The final stop of our tour was Singapore where we were staying with Phil’s sister Sally and her boyfriend Darren. Singapore, like Malaysia, is full of a combination of Chinese, Indian, Malay and Western influences. It is quite possibly the cleanest and most organised city in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, this comes at a price tag and Singapore is an expensive city to visit- thankfully we already had our free digs sorted. Transport is very easy via the MRT (subway) and a lot of Singapore can be covered by walking as long as you pack comfy shoes!
I only had three days in Singapore before I had to fly back to join the rat race, so we tried to squeeze in a fair amount whilst also relaxing and enjoying the end of our holidays. As we arrived mid week, Phil and I explored the city ourselves during the day and Sally and Darren showed us the city by night. One of the first places we visited were the famed Botanical Gardens. A lovely huge park to stroll around that has very deservedly been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Admission to the gardens is free, although if you want to enter the National Orchid Garden section a small fee is required. Despite the occassional downpours, we had a lovely afternoon strolling around admiring both the plants and the various monitor lizards and birds we saw along the way! It is quite difficult to get to, so I recommend using the Uber app to order a taxi to take you and pick you up.
One evening, we met Sally and Darren after work and they took us a to a rooftop bar for happy hour (alcohol is pricey in Singapore). My Singaporean friend Audrey, (that I had met on Easter Island), was able to join us, and we all enjoyed a few sundowners before heading to a nearby Hawker Market for street food. We joined hoards of locals eating fantastic food at a cheap price, all whilst sat on plastic chairs sipping Tiger beers – perfect!
The following day, Phil and I took the MRT to Little India. Little India was a bit disappointing, apart from the Hindu Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, (which is beautifully ornate with amazing sculptures and artwork both inside and out), we found little else to do in the area. We attempted to wander through the nearby indoor markets – full of bright colours and exotic smells, but unfortunately it was just far to busy and chaotic to really enjoy it.
Our next stop was Chinatown – comparatively this was a lot more laid back – I think we had missed the lunchtime rush at this point! It is a maze of little streets with market stalls,trinket shops, cafes, restaurants and the odd temple. It isn’t massive, but it is a nice place to potter about. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is the most impressive feature of China town and is free to enter – it claims to have one of buddha’s teeth!
From here, we visited the Gardens by the Bay where the huge tree grove is situated. This is definitely worth the visit and although we didn’t pay to go on the treetop walk it was still enjoyable. At night time, there are free evening light shows at the tree grove and a water fountain show outside the Marina Bay Sands Hotel – unfortunately we didn’t get to see these, but by all accounts they are pretty spectacular. That evening, Sally and Darren took us to a restaurant overlooking the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, and courtesy of Phil’s parents we enjoyed a lovely meal and drinks on the balcony overlooking the evening laser show.
Saturday was my last day in Singapore. After brunch in a Hawker Market, Sally and Darren took us on the Southern Ridges Walk which ends outside the Cable Car entrance at Mount Faber. It’s a great walk and feels like you are miles away from the city. After a well earned drink in the cafe at the top we caught an Uber to East Coast Park. Here we hired a “family bike” and Phil and Darren proceeded to cycle at full speed in order to overtake fellow cyclists. Meanwhile limited leg room in the back meant that I mainly took in the views and enjoyed the breeze! It was a fun few hours, and a great way to spend my last afternoon in Singapore. After refuelling in a restaurant it was time for me to head back to the flat and off to the airport, waving Phil, Sally and Darren goodbye.
I had a great trip and got to see a lot of different towns and landscapes, catch up with friends and family and see Orangutans!